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Mulan: Chongqing Acrobatic Art Troupe

AUSFENG presents MULAN. Acrobatic Show performed by CHONGQING ACROBATIC ART TROUPE OF CHINA at the State Theatre, Sydney.

“Chongqing Acrobatic Art Troupe is one of the most famous acrobatic troupes in China and the oldest local acrobatic troupe since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. It has become renowned around the world.”

For those of us that have grown bored with the format and formula of Cirque de Soleil (but certainly not its remarkable performers) this troupe from the People’s Republic of China brings an old fashioned (and unintentionally naive) entertainment of amazing acrobatic, gymnastic skills in the guise of a ‘book’ structure around the adventures of a Chinese mythical figure, Mulan, a young girl who joined the army in place of her father (Walt Disney has a very cute cartoon version).

The book structure is unnecessary for one’s enjoyment, but a scene cover for the new technical set ups for the next action. Balancing acts, juggling, flying and ribbon silks, drumming, hoop diving and more are all athletically and breathlessly exhibited by this young troupe of well drilled and expert artists. The old fashioned costumes, the gaudy lighting and the unsophisticated mix of taped orchestral and popular tune scores, are disarmingly charming for their lack of pretension and a welcome relief from the Cirque de Soleil brand of overkill: lame wit and splashed money that tour around the country like a movable Westfield trap of self contained entertainment.

The professional ‘genius’ of these physical artists mixed with the nostalgic, tawdry production values took me back to the old Royal Easter Show Side Shows and even better, to when Bullen’s Circus (not Wirth’s) pitched its tents locally in the vacant lot just down the street from us and we starry eyed and awed watched, probably, less gifted artists balance, swing and hang about us. There is no saw dust in the glorious State Theatre but, you know, I could smell it. I had eaten Sushi for dinner before the show but wished, during the show, for Pluto Pups and Fairy Floss.

I had a great night. So did the young kids about me. It finished at 9.15pm and they were all awake. I bet you they were still awake at midnight-excited and preparing to dream of running away with the Chinese Troupe from Chongqing. Bullen’s Circus was always in danger of stow aways in North Ryde (I just loved the elephants and that poor lonely camel).

Take yourself and your young friends for a good old fashioned, honest to goodness, good time of real skill without all that boring and repetitive frippery from those French Canadian behemoths of shows with those awful names and silly images.

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