Old hands at new skills

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Circus - Tanya Macnaughton

AS a coun­try with a rel­a­tively young cir­cus his­tory, Viet­nam has come a long way in a short space of time.

The art form was in­tro­duced to the Viet­namese only at the be­gin­ning of the 20th cen­tury and the Na­tional Viet­namese Cir­cus was founded in 1956.

Fledg­ling com­pany Nou­veau Cirque du Viet­nam has made its Aus­tralian de­but at PIAF with 2012-cre­ated pro­duc­tion A O Lang Pho, loosely trans­lat­ing to ‘vil­lage and city’, and con­trasts the coun­try’s fish­ing vil­lages with the cos­mopoli­tan with­out a red clown nose in sight.

The sound of the ocean greets the au­di­ence as they walk into Regal Theatre.

A lone boat and oar fill the other­wise sparse stage which is soon filled with 17 ac­ro­bats and five mu­si­cians.

This re­viewer never imag­ined you could do so much with wo­ven Viet­namese fish­ing bas­ket boats but these per­form­ers demonstrated their skill and agility as they bal­anced on them, spun them around and did other crazy things.

Bam­boo poles were thrown across the stage with a chore­og­ra­phy that never had them clash be­fore scaf­fold­ing-like struc­tures en­tered the stage

to es­ca­late the show with a se­quence of slid­ing rat­tan bas­kets de­liv­ered like clock­work.

The per­for­mance soon tran­si­tioned to crowded city life with apart­ment liv­ing and even a spot of beat box­ing and break­danc­ing.

Paced to a sound­track of live mu­sic, A O Lang Pho is a hyp­notic dis­play of ac­ro­bat­ics and jug­gling with beauty in mo­ments of sim­plic­ity that soar into dar­ing feats of spec­ta­cle.

The lone spin­ning hoop act to­wards the end is worth wait­ing for, as is the aerial act.

A O Lang Pho shows the rhythm of Viet­namese life and it is a rhythm worth ex­pe­ri­enc­ing.

The sea­son is on at Regal Theatre un­til Fe­bru­ary 25.

A O Lang Pho.

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