THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS:

YO-YO MA AND THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE

musicMulticultural musicians speaking the common language of music

U.S.A. : 96 mins : M                                        3.5/5

Morgan Neville, director of the Oscar winning Twenty Feet from Stardom (PIAF, 2014), turns out another music documentary, this time of the celebrated cellist, Yo-Yo Ma and his multicultural group of musicians, the Silk Road Ensemble in The Music of Strangers.

Beginning with an open air performance, which soon draws a sizeable crowd, the music (which is closest to the jazz genre) is rhythmical, infectious and joyful.  There is no doubt that these musicians are supremely talented and play a mystifying range of instruments, many of which would be unknown in the Western World.

In recorded interviews with some of the ensemble, they tell of troubled and sometimes tragic backgrounds – one lost his whole family in a bombing raid; another had a concert organised in Iran, only to have it cancelled by the authorities, at the eleventh hour on the grounds of ‘public security’.  Though they come from diverse cultures and speak different languages, the one language that they all speak is that of music.

Ma himself, of Chinese and American background, was a child prodigy and there’s an enchanting clip of him at age seven, playing for J.F. Kennedy and dwarfed by his cello. Having achieved such mastery of his instrument, he needed to look for new challenges, such as the ensemble (which he formed in the year 2000).  In his own words, he tells of wanting to find his place in the world and of actually ‘changing the world’ but doesn’t elaborate.  There is no doubt that this is an extraordinary melange of cultures (China, Syria, Spain, Iran, et al) but the examination of them is rather cursory.  As for the meaning of ‘Silk Road’ or the specifics of how and why the group was formed (or even an explanation of their extraordinary instruments) the documentary (which has the feel of a glossy brochure) is short on detail.

One of the musicians, the articulate Kayhan Kalhor, from Iran, provides a more substantial portrait, fleshing out details of his own poverty-stricken background and his struggle to escape the repression of all cultural pursuits in his home country.  Tall, thin with a grey handlebar moustache, he cuts an imposing and intriguing figure.

Ma himself, though self-effacing and joyfully enthusiastic, remains in the shadows, perhaps unwilling to delve too deeply into his own back story.  For whatever reason, The Music of Strangers is a documentary that does not entirely satisfy (and perhaps, takes on more than it can canvass in 96 minutes) except when the musicians begin to play.  It is in the music, that the film conjures real magic and this is almost enough to make you forget the details you might really have liked to know.

Phil.  25.03.17.  pbsailing@yahoo.com.au

(The Music of Strangers:Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble will screen at Joondalup from Tuesday, April 4th to Thursday, 6th April and Saturday 8th and Sunday, 9th April and at Somerville from Monday 10th April to Thursday, 13th April then Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th April.  NOTE: THERE WILL BE NO SCREENING ON EITHER FRIDAY OF BOTH WEEKS.


 

It’s been a long wait since the Oscars, for W.A. to see this fine film which was the deserving winner of Best Foreign Language Film.  It is tense, powerful and superbly acted and Farhadi shows why he’s a hot film maker in world cinema.

 THE SALESMAN

Second time Oscar winner is a precise study of drama and human intrigue.

salesmanIRAN : 125 mins. : M : RT 97%                          4.5/5

In the space of a few years, writer/director, Asghar Farhadi, has achieved an exalted position as a master film-maker.  He won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film for A Separation (2011) and now, for the second time, with The Salesman, loosely inspired by Arthur Miller’s play, Death of a Salesman.

Farhadi’s film centres on his trademark motif – a young married couple, exposed to a high degree of tension.  Emad (Shahab Hosseini) is a High School teacher and he and his wife, Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti) are also actors, starring in a stage production of Death of a Salesman (with Emad playing Willy Lomax and Rana his wife, Linda).  But they find themselves in a real life drama, having to flee their apartment as the building threatens to collapse. Farhadi is in complete control of the chaos and terror of this opening (a metaphor for the impending breakdown in their own relationship) and he never loosens his grip.

But the tension ramps up, exponentially, when the two find alternative accommodation, with the help of a friend and fellow actor, Babak (Babak Karimi).  A female tenant has moved out of the apartment he owns, leaving behind not just her personal belongings but also a pervasive air of hostility.

This feeling of unease intensifies, when Rana, believing it to be Emad returning, opens the front door for him and walks away.  Farhadi focuses on the open door, for what seems an eternity. Unsubtle it may be but, as the camera finally breaks away, leaving the audience desperate to know what happens next, this stroke of ingenuity shows why he is such a master of time, space and intrigue.

When the shocking truth of what happened is revealed, it elicits two quite different emotional responses.  While Emad is enraged and seeks revenge, Rana, though physically and psychologically traumatised, is nevertheless, compassionate and forgiving.  The severity of the situation has exposed traits in each other’s characters that they didn’t know they had.  They look upon each other as strangers, as a wedge is driven between them, threatening to break them apart.

Hosseini is superb as Emad, with Farhadi moving back and forth from the stage production to his apartment life, drawing a comparison between him and his role as Willy Lomax.  Both characters feel increasingly powerless, struggling to gain control of their situation.  Alidoosti, also, gives a skilful, naturalistic performance as Rana and, when the two are together, they are fascinating to watch.

Superficially, The Salesman is a taut, suspenseful thriller, yet Farhadi has crafted his exquisite film with enough emotional and psychological depth to elevate it far above a routine whodunit.

Nor is there a pat ending to The Salesman but, instead, a suitably enticing ambiguity, leaving the audience to mull over it long after the closing credits.

 

Phil.  24.03.17. pbsailing@hotmail.com

(The Salesman will screen at Somerville from Monday, 3rd April to Sunday, 9th April and at Joondalup from Tuesday, 11th April to Sunday, 15th April at 7.30pm.)


Perth International Art Festival

GRADUATION

tHE gRADUATEThe eternal moral conundrum – does the end justify the means?

ROMANIA:127 mins : MA :       3/5

Writer/director, Cristian Mungiu, shared the Best Director Award at Cannes last year for Graduation, with Olivier Assayas for Personal Shopper (also in this year’s PIAF programme).

Romeo (Adrian Titieni) is a medical doctor, whose main focus in life is his academically brilliant, eighteen year-old daughter, Eliza (Maria-Victoria Dragos), and her imminent exams, which will determine whether she will qualify for the Cambridge scholarship she has been offered.  When Eliza is sexually attacked on the day before the exams, their plans are thrown into chaos and Romeo finds himself digging a deeper and deeper hole in which he is morally and even legally compromised in his desperate bid for his daughter to succeed.

So, Mungiu is spinning a morality tale, in which almost everybody is culpable.  Romeo considers himself an honest man and enjoys a reputation as such, yet, right from the start, he’s shown to be less than perfect.  His is a loveless marriage and he is engaged in an affair with a younger woman, Sandra (Malina Manovici) – something which obviously worries Eliza who urges him to talk about it to his wife, Magda (Lia Bugner).

As Romeo, Titieni gives graphic illustration of his discomfort in making unpleasant decisions as he tries, in vain, to hold on to his integrity.  It is intriguing to see how Mungiu keeps a steady hand on proceedings, keeping close to his central protagonist and weaving strand after strand of deceit and rule-bending in answer to the timeless excuse of doing anything for one’s kids and in a world that is far from perfect.

With Eliza herself, assuming something of a moral compass and who isn’t afraid of throwing back at her father, the very principles he has instilled in her, Mungiu strikes a (tentative) note of hope in a morass of moral corruption.

But, at over two hours in length, Mungui’s Graduation labours the point a little.

Phil. 11.03.17. pbsailing@hotmail.com

(Graduation will screen at Somerville from Monday, 20th March to Sunday, 26th March and at Joondalup from Tuesday, 28th March to Sunday, 2nd April at 7.30pm.)



LADY MACBETH

Lady macbethShakespeare’s lady reincarnate?

U.K. :  89 mins : CTC  :        4/5

Since Nikolai Leskov had a hand in adapting his own novella, along with Alice Birch as the scriptwriter, it can be assumed that Lady Macbeth sticks fairly closely to the source material.  Borrowing the title from the Bard himself may be a touch of savage irony for, although not the most famous Lady Macbeth, yet director, William Oldroyd’s titular character (in his feature debut) shares some of her more extreme psychological characteristics.

Throwing us back to the patriarchical society of the nineteenth century and relocating the narrative from Russia to the harsh northlands of England, the film opens with the marriage of young Katherine (Florence Pugh) to Alexander (Paul Hilton), a man twice her age who has bought his bride, just like any other commodity (along with a piece of land).  Alexander is an ignorant, selfish lout which would make him a poor catch anyway, but it’s soon discovered that he’s sexually inadequate, rendering him useless as far as the family line is concerned (as well as raising a question mark over a child he was supposed to have fathered with a black woman, some years earlier).

Alexander’s father, Boris (Christopher Fairbank) treats Katherine in exactly the same way as his son so, at first, audience  sympathy is very much with Katherine even when (in her husband’s absence) she forms a passionate, lustful relationship with a servant, Sebastian (a fine, simmering Cosmo Jarvis) finding the response she’s been denied.

There’s no doubting the presence of a rebellious streak in Katherine but Oldroyd pulls the rug from under us when, in a violent confrontation between her lover and her husband, she savagely murders Alexander.  Katherine’s all-consuming selfishness mixed with murderous amorality makes her a chilling character, no less than her Shakespearian namesake.

Florence Pugh is superb, in her first starring role and carries the film, in a fine ensemble cast, showing the composure and steely resolve necessary to convince us that her pretty features could harbour such atrocities.  Oldroyd also, keeps a firm grasp on proceedings and it’s only in the writing, that some plot points become problematic.  In this age of feminist assurance, Katherine’s sudden change from outright rejection of Sebastian’s initial advances to an immediate and passionate embrace, may seem to give credence to the rapists’ misconceived adage that ‘when a lady says no, she really means yes’.

Leskov and Birch have created an intriguing script but with little insight into the workings of Katherine’s mind, or other matters, such as the sudden and inexplicable loss of speech by the maid, Anna.  This seems contrived and just too convenient for the plot, since, without speech, she cannot confirm the truth of critical events, thus leading to the tragic demise of herself and Sebastian.

But this beautiful-looking film, photographed largely in ambient light, is still strong enough to be engrossing.  If nothing else, it makes a mockery of the millions of dollars poured into inferior projects, when a film of the calibre of Lady Macbeth can be created with a (relatively) small budget and a committed cast.

Phil. 04.03.17. pbsailing@hotmail.com

(Lady Macbeth will screen at Somerville from Monday, 13th March to Sunday, 19th March and at Joondalup from Tuesday, 21st March to Sunday, 26th March at 7.30pm.)


THE KING’S CHOICE

king a dramatic history lesson brought  to life

NORWAY/IRELAND : 133 mins : CTC :         4/5

Director, Erik Poppe’s true-life WWII film, combining biography and history, was scripted by Harald Rosenlow-Eeg and Jan Trygve Royneland and was Norway’s entry as Best Foreign Film in the 89th Academy Awards.

Untold stories of the Second World War continue to resonate and, while Denmark’s Land of Mine (2016) occurred at the end of the war, The King’s Choice comes from its early years when Norway found itself in Hitler’s sights, on account of its iron ore reserves and strategic, military position.  With neutrality no longer an option, Norway’s only elected Monarch, King HaakonVll, faced a gruelling decision – whether to accede to a nominal defeat from the hated German collaborator, Quisling (an off-screen presence) or to resist and become one of Britain’s allies.  Veteran actor, Jesper Christensen, is superb as the King, his lined face emphasising his dedication to duty and the burden he carried.

Leaving his royal home, the King and his family (including his son, Prince Olav, a fine Anders Baasmo) retreat to the country while, all around him, bombs explode and fighter planes drone overhead and Hitler’s envoy, Kurt Brauer (a sensitive Karl Markovics) an intriguing, conscience-driven diplomat, is in pursuit, determined to get the king’s signature on a declaration of surrender.

Spanning just three days of the conflict, Poppe’s prolific use of inter-titles, offset with literary discussion and scenes with the King’s grandchildren, creates a hybrid feel of documentary and drama.

In many ways, The King’s Choice is old-fashioned film making and more the better for it.  The battle scenes are tremendous – full of suspense and fear and without the modern-day excess of blood-drenched body parts.  Instead of overwhelming the ears with constant noise, Poppe creates a balanced soundscape, exacting maximum impact from each explosion.

Even with a running time in excess of two hours, the fine cinematography and high production values make The King’s Choice an engrossing and rewarding film.  It’s a stirring piece of Norwegian patriotic history and a story, well worth telling.

Phil. 25.02.17. pbsailing@hotmail.com

(The King’s Choice will screen at Somerville from Monday, 6th March to Sunday, 12th March and at Joondalup from Tuesday, 14th March to Sunday, 19th March at 7.30pm).


 

Isabelle Huppert has gained an Oscar nomination for Elle (the ceremony to be televised on Sunday February 26th) and is widely regarded as one of the finest actresses on screen today.  Here, she gives another peerless performance.

THINGS TO COME

lanirAmazing Huppert faced with re-invention

FRANCE/GERMANY : 102mins : M : R.T.100%                   4/5

Isabelle Huppert gives another extraordinary (and multi-awarded) performance as the intellectual, Nathalie Chazeaux, in director and writer, Mia Hansen-Love’s, Things to Come.  Nathalie’s life is disintegrating and her intellectual foundations, as a teacher of philosophy, are shaken to the core.

Nathalie, no longer a young woman, has always played the caring daughter to her ailing mother and the loving wife to her pompous husband, Heinz (Andre Marcon).  But the core of her existence is her field of study.  She takes comfort from her shelves full of text books (some of which she has written) and in the company of fellow professionals.

One of her books is the cause of an uncomfortable meeting with her publishers who want to re-design its format, giving it a more appealing, contemporary make-over.  Nathalie, however, with the purist’s love of constancy, is resistant to change.

But change is happening on a grand scale.  In a shock admission, her husband announces he’s leaving her to live with another woman.  There is no violent eruption, either verbal or physical but stoic acceptance.  “I thought you’d love me forever” she says, plaintively.  “What an idiot.”

Her mother Yvette (a wonderful Edith Scob) plagues her daughter with curmudgeonly selfishness, bullying her with threats of suicide and exaggerated claims of disease and injury.  But, when she dies, Nathalie discusses the funeral arrangements with less emotion than she shows when her mother’s cat goes missing.

But it is the sight of Nathalie’s shelves, now with gaping holes where Heinz has taken away his books, that is one of the film’s most distressing moments.

Apart from the companionship of a former student, Fabien (Roman Kolinka) Nathalie shows no desire to deepen this, or any other relationship in her state of new-found freedom.

Huppert’s somewhat lugubrious features are infinitely adroit in capturing and expressing thoughts and feelings. Including discussions of music, politics, Marxism and the writings of Rousseau may seem like Hansen-Love’s death wish for Things to Come but with an actor like Huppert to deliver the lines, there is a liveliness that leans more toward humour than tedium.

Things to Come is intelligent, keenly observed film-making with Hansen-Love in control of its many narrative strands.  At its close, the strains of Unchained Melody strike a piquant note of irony.  In her subjugation of matters of the heart, in deference to matters cerebral and in her faith in constancy, Huppert’s Nathalie is something of an anachronism.  Yet, in all respects, she is no less fascinating for that.

Phil. 04.02.17.  pbsailing@yahoo.com.au

(Things to Come will screen at Somerville from Monday, 13th February to Sunday, 19th February and then at Joondalup from Tuesday, 21st February to Sunday, 26th February).

 


 LIKE CRAZY

From laughter to tears and from tears to anger – this film asks the question; who’s crazy, us or them?

crazyITALY : 116 mins :  M  :  R.T. 100%                                           4/5

After a brief opening, the tension of which persists throughout, Like Crazy, directed and co-written by Paolo Virzi (with Francesco Archibugi) and featuring two female absconders from a mental health facility, moves seamlessly from madcap comedy to gut-wrenching drama.

Donatella (Micaela Ramazzotti), stick-thin, heavily tattooed and tight-lipped, clutches her baby on a bridge high over a river and prepares to jump.  But here the scene ends and it’s not until later that we learn the outcome.

For the moment, Like Crazy throws itself into brilliant and outrageous comedy.

When Donatella arrives at a mental patient home, established resident, Beatrice (an inspired Valerie Tedeschi) is exploitative and delusional (she professes to be a close friend of a former American President) and is a compulsive talker (‘she even talks in her sleep’).  The comi-tragic Beatrice inhabits a fantasy world, burying her pain behind a constant smokescreen of hyperactivity.crazy2

Virtually gang-pressing the withdrawn and depressed Donatella into a friendship (which later becomes charming and supportive) the two are polar opposites.  Both Tedeschi and Ramazzotti are stunning, giving high-powered and emotionally devastating performances in a film that asks serious questions of the role of the authorities, such as Child Welfare and the Family Court Judiciary and how to draw the line between the sane and the insane.

Donatella, in one of the many scenes where they are trying to evade capture, asks “Are we crazy?” and Beatrice answers “Technically, yes.”  But Virzi’s film shows the world outside to be just as crazy and it’s most serious question is about over protectionism and, in particular, whether it is possible for a mother to sustain her mental equilibrium, when the system separates her from her child.  For the authorities and for the audience, there are no easy answers.

There can be no more eloquent and hard-hitting illustration of this dilemma than Virzi’s late and masterful scene, when Donatella joins her son in a swim at the beach.  Gone from her frail features is every vestige of instability. She’s not just sane but, for the first time in the film, radiantly happy.

Virzi has researched his subject exhaustively and treats the protagonists with tenderness and respect.  When the members of the audience reach the sobering facts in the end credits, the journey from laughter to heartache will have given them a severe emotional workout.  In addition, Like Crazy will also leave them with many troubling but unanswered questions.

Tedeschi and Ramazzotti, sublime as Beatrice and Donatella

Phil. 28.01.17. pbsailing@hotmail.com

(Like Crazy will screen at Somerville from Monday 6th February to Sunday 12th February and at Joondalup from Tuesday 14th February to Sunday 19th February).


 

GROWING UP IN A DICTATOR’S SHADOW 

Lola Arias (Chile/Argentina)

The tear I was bornTHE YEAR I WAS BORN

AUSTRALIAN EXCLUSIVE

Argentinian director Lola Arias’ riveting stage docu-drama The Year I Was Born explores a nation’s complex history through the eyes of a resilient and hopeful generation.

In bursts of exuberant rock music and deceptively upbeat scenarios, actors born in the 1970s and 1980s under Chile’s Pinochet regime play their own parents to uncover wildly divergent versions of what life was like under the dictatorship which tortured and killed thousands of people.

Like stunt doubles, the actors don their parents’ old clothes and use old photographs, letters, megaphones, electric guitars, cassette tapes and family films on overhead projectors to reconstruct stories from opposing sides of the Chilean regime.

The Year I was Born comes exclusively to the Perth International Arts Festival after acclaimed seasons in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and at London’s Lift Festival.

Arias worked with children of the regime to research their family backgrounds and create The Year I was Born in 2011. The performers uncovered things that they didn’t know and maybe didn’t want to know about their parents between the 1973 US-backed coup that bought Pinochet to power and the end of his dictatorship in 1990.

‘To be part of this show was a big decision for all of those involved and not always an easy one,’ Arias says about her cast’s discovery of the very different roles their parents during the Pinochet years.

‘Those whose family history includes relatives who were killed or suffered badly under Pinochet stand side by side on stage with those whose family members worked for the regime,’ Arias says. ‘Some come from families who chose to stay and resist, and others from those who went into exile.’

 Reviews

Playful and political, real and surreal, The Year I was Born is told with humour and compassion to reveal the unsteady balance between private lives and national identity.

‘Lola Arias is a truly original voice in the theatre,’ PIAF Artistic Director Wendy Martin says.

‘It is an extraordinary act of reconciliation to put these performers on stage together, whose parents sat on opposite sides of a bloody moment in the world’s history,’ Martin says.

‘This work is so relevant in today’s world when we are watching the tolerance of people living side by side for centuries ruptured and shredded into hate by Pinochet-style despots and extremists.’

Lola Arias (born in Buenos Aires, 1976) is a writer, director, performer and songwriter. She collaborates with artists from different disciplines in theatre, literature, music and art projects. Her productions play with the overlap zones between reality and fiction. She works with actors, non-actors, musicians, dancers, children, babies, and animals.

Centre stage in Striptease (2007) is occupied by a baby, while its parents fight out a duel by telephone. In El amor es un francotirador (2007), the performers relate true and fictional love stories while a rock band plays live. In Mi vida después (2009), six actors reconstruct their parents’ youth in 1970’s Argentina by means of photos, letters, cassettes and old clothes.

She staged in Germany Familienbande (2009) at Kammerspiele, Munich, and That Enemy Within (2010) at Hebbel Am Uter Theatre, Berlin. In Chile, she staged The Year I Was Born (2011), based on biographies of people born during Pinochet’s dictatorship. Her last piece Melancolía y Manifestaciones (2012) opened in Vienner Festwochen.

Together with Ulises Conti, she composes and plays music, and released the albums El amor es un francotirador (2007) and Los que no duermen (2011).

Her projects with Stefan Kaegi are Chácara Paraíso (2007) involving Brazilian police officers and Airport Kids (2008) featuring global nomads aged between 7 and 13 years old. In 201012, they curated a Festival of urban interventions Ciudades Paralelas in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Warsaw, Zurich, Singapore and other cities.

WHERE: Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of WA WHEN: Wed 15–Sat 18 Feb, 7.30pm (Post Show Discussion Fri 17 Feb, 9.30pm) BOOKINGS AND FESTIVAL INFO: 08 6488 5555 – perthfestival.com.au – Ticketek outlets

POST SHOW DISCUSSION WHERE: Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of WA WHEN: Fri 17 Feb, 9.30pm


 

ART CREATES A HOME OUTSIDE THE COMFORT ZONE

Inua Ellams and Fuel (Nigeria/UK)
AN EVENING WITH AN IMMIGRANT

AUSTRALIAN EXCLUSIVE

The Perth InAn evening with an immigrantternational Arts Festival’s 2017 Artist-in-Residence Inua Ellams brings his acclaimed autobiographical solo show An Evening with an Immigrant to Perth for an Australian Exclusive.

Nigerian-born, UK-based Ellams is an award-winning poet, playwright and performer, graphic artist and designer. Identity, displacement and destiny are recurring themes in his work, which mixes the old with the new – traditional African storytelling with contemporary poetry, pencil with pixel, texture with vector images.

Born in Nigeria to a Muslim father and Christian mother, Ellams fled with his family to England at age 12. An Evening with an Immigrant is his potent personal account of life as an immigrant told through poetry and music.

A charismatic and engaging performer, Ellams tells his ridiculous, fantastic, poignant story – escaping fundamentalist Islam, experiencing prejudice and friendship in Dublin, performing solo at the National Theatre and drinking wine with the Queen of England – all the while without a country to belong to or place to call home.

Perth International Arts Festival Artistic Director Wendy Martin said ‘Inua Ellams has used art to navigate his way through the limbo of not being recognised in the place he has called home for so long, which is the story of many people in the world’.

Not your conventional night at the theatre, An Evening with an Immigrant is littered with vivid hip-hop inflected poems and amusing anecdotes. This captivating evening is a hilarious and heartbreaking triumph of storytelling, yet a moving perspective of an immigrant’s view point that often goes unheard.

Ellams poetry gleams with a dusty, worn, deeply original beauty. METRO (UK)

WHERE: Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA WHEN: Fri 24 Feb and Sat 25 Feb, 8pm BOOKINGS AND FESTIVAL INFO: 08 6488 5555 – perthfestival.com.au – Ticketek outlets

POST SHOW DISCUSSION WHERE: Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA WHEN: Sat 25 Feb, 9.30pm


CIRCUS TURNS TRADITION ON ITS HEAD

Nouveau Cirque du Vietnam (Vietnam/France)

A O LANG PHO

AUSTRALIAN EXCLUSIVE

Ao Lang fo 1Nouveau Cirque du Vietnam makes its Australian debut with a Perth International Arts Festival exclusive season to amaze and delight the whole family.

A dynamic cast of 17 acrobats and five musicians whisk us away to a village in Vietnam with a rare mix of modern cirque, contemporary dance, live music and the ingenious use of bamboo, rattan props and baskets from ordinary village life.

In A O Lang Pho, the serenity of rural life is dashed by progress as a quiet hamlet is dramatically transformed into a bustling city and traditional Vietnamese music (Cai Luong) gives way to hip hop.

This Vietnamese and French production, co-directed by brothers Nhat Ly and Lan Maurice Nguyen and Tuan Le, captures the chaotic energy of Vietnam’s rapid modernisation with humour and a dynamic, visually rich stage language that speaks to all audiences.

Ao Lang fo 1Acrobats, jugglers and contortionists reveal there can be perfect harmony within the chaos. There are vivid and romantic moments of rural life and the noisy and funny discord of urbanisation. Bamboo and wicker baskets from the rice fields are ingeniously repurposed to create peculiar creatures and spectacular circus stunts.

‘A O Lang Pho is a superb family show,’ said PIAF Artistic Director Wendy Martin.

Ao lang fo 2‘This playful work full of wonder and magic beautifully amplifies the cultural values and aesthetics of Vietnam while exploring how traditional life is being changed by the modern world’.

ao lang fo 3A O Lang Pho, represents a Vietnam undergoing an exciting and often disruptive transitional period. Thrilling, funny and surprising, the show celebrates the cultural traditions of Vietnam with breathtaking contemporary circus.

‘This is the most extraordinary show I’ve seen in quite a while. (Nouveau Cirque du Vietnam) has captured this culture and elevated my theatre-going experience by taking me on a journey of beauty, love and time.’ – Stefan Haves, Cirque Du Soleil director

‘The artists of the Nouveau Cirque du Vietnam are composing and recomposing infinitely movable and superb architectures.’ – Le Monde

WHERE: Regal Theatre WHEN: Thur 16, Fri 17, Sat 18, Tue 21, Wed 22, Thu 23, Fri 24 and Sat 25 Feb, 7pm, Sat 18 Feb and Sat 25 Feb, 2pm Sun 19 Feb, 1pm and 5pm BOOKINGS AND FESTIVAL INFO: 08 6488 5555 – perthfestival.com.au – Ticketek outlets