Apr 10, 2015
AO Show, Saigon
GPS waypoint: 10°46'36.7"N 106°42'12.3"E
Location: Metropolitan Opera House: 07 Cong Truong Lam Son, Dist. 1, Ho Chi Minh City
What is it?
AO Show is more like a fusion of circus and a stage play about the day-to-day local ongoings of a traditional fishing village in Vietnam. Venue was at the Metropolitan Opera House - an iconic landmark in Saigon and a must-experience for its architecture, sound acoustic, grand presence and its history.
The acts had a number of clever innovations - a simulation of a rural conveyor belt, the visual moving-light effect as they spun the fishing tool and the rolling straw disc that would place people where there were none before. Hard to explain - you'll just have to see it. The live thundering musical scoring in the background added intensity and urgency. The performance was solid - they moved in synchronicity if needed and the acrobatics was dialed-in specially the parkour stunts. The incandescent lighting was particularly dramatic and powerful, draping a monochromatic hue over the stage like that of a golden patina, given the imposing visuals of bamboo and baskets.
What it Didn't Have
What it lacked though was over-the-top element - it didn't have enough edge. It was packaged as 'new circus' which immediately brings to mind, Cirque du Soleil - and that inevitably raised the expectation. But AO Show didn't have the death-defying surgical precision stunts or the mesmerizing balancing act that would generate a unison of gasps among the spectators (well, there could have been one or two). Perhaps that is the risk you run when you invoke the leveled-up word 'circus' in your marketing package, let alone 'new circus'.
There wasn't much of a storyline to weave together the entire one-hour act - it was more of a series of independent skits threaded on a common theme - that of life in a fishing village.
Altogether though, AO Show is an entertaining one hour visual spectacle worth seeing on your short visit to Ho Chi Minh City. It felt just right. It was long enough to present all its highlights without feeling too stretched but not too short that it would leave you hanging.
Thank you Ms. Kimmy Nguyen!!!
Apr 10, 2015
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