À Ố Làng Phố

À Ố Làng Phố
Vietnamese Bamboo Circus. Asia Topa. Art Centre Melbourne. February 27, 28 and 29 - 2020

Haunting and scenic, accessible and engaging this amazing Vietnamese Circus, directed by Taun Le, played to very full houses at the State Theatre.  It is such a treat sitting in amongst and audience with children giggling and older Vietnamese chatting excitedly about what they are watching.

We are treated to the seamlessly choreographed (Nguyen Tan Loc) ground and aerial work of a troupe of 16 exceptional acrobats, of whom, I think, 5 are women.   This team is sublimely in-sync.

Lyrical and absorbing, in the early stages of the work village life is explored and conveyed through the highly skilled use of bamboo and rattan baskets and huge rods balanced and thrown.  The imaginative and expressive use of these implements underpins the work.  The setting moves from village life to city life where we watch entertaining and often witty interactions in and around small tenement buildings. 

The lighting is strong and evocative (Artistic Director – Nguyen Lan Mauric).   All-the-while a poignant moon glows over the action and imbues the evening with a wistful romantic sensibility.

The music, played by five musicians on traditional instruments, is subtle at times and commanding and pervading at others.  It helps to move the evening forward - swiftly and smoothly.  The Musical Director is Nguyen Nhat Ly.   

At one point all acrobats move in sequence, with what look like enormous bamboo egg whisks that flutter and vibrate through the air, like fluttering insect wings.

Ah the magic of circus – a truly wonderful evening.

Suzanne Sandow

Photographer: Nguyen The Duong

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