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Review-The Nutcracker-The Hong Kong Ballet21-12-14

No Christmas would be complete without The Nutcracker, even for a temporary Bah Humbug like me this year. The story was an adaptation of E.T.A Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and The Mouse King and it was a very interesting adaptation indeed. Think Inception-esque Nutcracker – a dream within a fantastical children’s tale – to me, pure genius. Congratulations Terence Kohler!


Review-The Bluebird of Happiness-MQ Studio20-12-14

Preparing you for a perfect Christmas mood, The Bluebird of Happiness is a great play for a family night out. Adapted from a fairy story written by Maurice Maeterlinck, the Belgian playwright and 1911 Nobel Prize Laureate, the story starts on Christmas Eve. Siblings Mytyl and Tytyl are unhappy about their Christmas presents and set out on a journey to find the bluebird of happiness. Their fantastical journey turns out to be a discovery of memory, courage, nature and familial bonding. This Hong Kong production is based on the 2013 show by Christian theater group Trumpets, with original music created by Rony Fortich.


Review-Amidst the Wind-CCDC16-12-14

Masters of the Hong Kong Contemporary Dance Scene and the art of quick-change, City Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC) presented an evening of excellence.


Review-Three Little Men-Brave Heart Theatre14-12-14

What advice would you give to the twenty something year old you? What questions would you ask of yourself at the end of your life? In Wing Man Lam’s Thee Little Men, one character is featured three ways. A naïve and impressionable 24 year old is full of questions about what lies ahead, and scathing of his future faults. A gristly and greedy forty-four year old seethes at his unfaithful wife, despite the fact he has been disloyal throughout their marriage. A dying and then dead sixty-four year old is at peace with the sorry state he faces at the end of his life. The three men sit together to consume the fine wine spoils of their successful, albeit somewhat dishonest, career and talk through their life.


Review-Storm Clouds-Hong Kong Dance Company14-12-14

Based on a local iconic martial arts-fantasy comic series, The Storm Rider, illustrated by Ma Wing Sing, Storm Clouds is a cinematic, first ever, dance production of the much adapted story. The plot narrates the intertwined fates of two men, Lip Fung (the Storm, played by Yuan Shenglun) and Bo Ging-wan (the Cloud, played by Sun Gongwei) as they battle each other in love, hate, and brotherhood. Adopted by the legendary tyrant Hung Ba (Chen Jun) as children, Lip and Bo emerged as great warriors in their youth. A prophecy warns Hung Ba that the Storm and Cloud will be his doom and so he decides to turn Lip and Bo against each other with his daughter, Hao Chi (Pan Lingjuan), to secure his supremacy. Relationships fracture, hearts are broken, and havoc ensues as the dancers enact the story in impressive choreography by the acclaimed Yang Yuntao over four acts.


Review-Salty Roast Crane-CCDC13-12-14

Salty Roast Crane opens with one of the most beautiful stage pictures I’ve ever seen. Tonal beats play rather than music, fog rolls in, a giant egg glows upstage left and the dancers hold frozen poses. Some of the poses were incredibly difficult and left the audience wondering when they would begin to move. They certainly couldn’t hold both legs in the air forever, could they? They held this frozen pose for five minutes or so—- but it felt much longer. The audience anticipation was growing. What was going to come next after such a magnificent opening moment?


Review-A Place, Beijing Dance-CCDC12-12-14

For this touring version of A Place, which had been presented in Beijing twice before, choreographer Liu Bin drew inspiration from memories. The set was simply a stove with a kettle on top, a reminder of Liu’s childhood where, in order to keep warm, his family would huddle by the stove for dinner. Smoke emitted from the kettle, sometimes in little puffs, sometimes in billowing clouds, creating a great atmosphere for what memories are like: hazy, vague and not always crystal clear.


Review-IndepenDANCE Hong Kong-CCDC7-12-14

As part of their 35th anniversary celebrations, the City Contemporary Dance Company presented six pieces of contemporary dance with abstract themes; which both delighted and puzzled simultaneously. As a dance rookie I arrived with a completely blank slate of expectations. The blackbox venue was perfect for the performances, with minimal set pieces to organise between sets.


Review-Jason and the Argonauts-AFTEC6-12-14

I've always thought of physical theatre as a much more visceral experience. The audience is engaged differently than in a traditional piece of theatre where they listen more than watch. Physical theatre is also different than dance or corporeal mime for me, in that it blends theatre/dance together. I was intrigued that known theatre director Vicki Ooi wanted to do her first physical theatre piece at the age of 72. She employed the assistance of Michael Brown, the movement director of War Horse for the Royal National Theatre in London.


Review-IndepenDANCE Taiwan-CCDC5-12-14

Continuing to celebrate their 35th anniversary, the City Contemporary Dance Company invited artistic director of MeimageDance Ho Hsiao-mei and her team from Taiwan to bring three new works to Hong Kong audiences. The three performances were delightful to watch and the dancers’ skills superb. All three dance performances explored different themes and it was refreshing to see the different interpretations and influences of our Taiwanese counterparts, even if I didn’t always make the connection.


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