Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chinese acrobats and "comedian clowns"

[This is a review of a show we went to nearly a week ago. It is a bad idea to try to write something that much later - it will be at best impressionistic.]

Last Thursday it hit 34°. By Sunday night it was down to 4° again. I am just glad I am not a tourist - at least I have a whole wardrobe full of clothes for all seasons. As it happened Thursday was the day we went to see a free concert by a visiting troupe from subtropical Fujian province, China, which has been twinned with Tasmania since the 1950s! I did not know this.

By the time we arrived at the concert hall it was about 90% full. Marcus and I sat in the very back row, at a ridiculous altitude above the stage. Elf couldn't bring herself to keep climbing that far so she and Michael were a few rows below us. People everywhere were trying to save seats. One lady was trying to save an entire row. Two groups of people eventually double-teamed her, and the forces of good manners prevailed.

That chubby young lass who is our Premier did a good job with her speech, getting out some authentically Chinese sounds when she had to say the names of visiting dignitaries. When the Trade Envoy or whatever replied he was interpreted by an interpreter. Who popped up again later.

The acrobats were all terrific, a lot of thrilling diving and leaping and so on. There was a lot of male harem pants. The juggling and plate-spinning (there was a lot of plate-spinning) was all fairly incredible. The rest of the program was a bit patchy, and it went on and on and on. The puppets were too far away. Chinese pop and bel canto singing was just not my cup of tea.

The magician's segment was called Mystical Smile-Magic. The now-disembodied interpreter asked for volunteers, then tried to get them (young kids) to do the right things with a hanky by booming at them distantly. “Fold it in half. No - from the corner. Move forward. Not there. Forward. Fold it”. It was excruciating. As was the “comedian clown”. The program called this segment funny and relaxing. It didn't really manage either. But to be honest the acrobats were so good, they made up for all the other stuff.

The program went on so long, that by the end the many parents in the audience were straining to get their kids home to bed. We then had the unusual phenomenon of a standing ovation combined with a mass exodus. People (including us) were clapping their hands raw while simultaneously streaming to the exits.

No comments: