Perth’s festival scene is thriving, with Fringe World already in full swing, and the Perth Festival kicked off a four-week extravaganza of the arts on Friday. The blurb says Perth Festival is all about: "Gripping performances, big laughs and good vibes. If you’ve got a pulse, we’ve got something for you.” Perth Festival’s Lang Toi certainly fits that bill and conjured plenty of belly laughs from Master B (aged 5) on our ‘date night’.
A modern take on traditional Vietnamese arts blended with the European new circus style, Lang Toi is a contemporary multicultural creation developed by Nouveau Cirque du Vietnam. Circus performers and musicians tell a character-driven story of daily life in a Vietnamese village which captivated Master B and I from start to finish.
The action is visually stunning, with amazing acrobatics and bewildering balances
Much of the action is high tempo and visually stunning, supported with toe tapping musical beats. The set and the costumes are simple but effective - with bamboo forming a central element of the theme. The cast of 15 artists manipulate bamboo poles up to 4.5m long, use the canes as instruments and manhandle bamboo props through various routines of juggling and acrobatics.
One of the most powerful parts of the show involved a swinging apparatus made of two long bamboos rotating at high speed under the power of a male artist, while one of the females mounted the rig and then suspended herself 4 m in the air from a small hand loop! Cue gasps from the audience in the Regal Theatre and cries of “How is she flying?!” from Master B! He also enjoyed the humorous juggling set, with 3 artists and a bell blending music and comedy theatre.
The contortionist did some amazing tricks
We both struggled to comprehend the contortionist who performed an amazing impression of a spider/bug, drawing big laughs when she scratched her head with her toe from behind!
Following the cast into the lobby, the audience were in for an extra special encore performance
The climax of the show drew rapturous applause for the high tempo encore, delivered with gusto. However the biggest treat was still awaiting us, as the cast and 4 musicians marched to the theatre lobby to resume their music and chanting. It was a really special opportunity to get really close to the stars of this top class production, who happily posed for photos and shared their joy of performing with the audience as we departed. Master B didn’t want to leave, so we waited patiently just a couple of metres from them as they concluded their final encore in front of the departing audience and passers by drawn in from the Subiaco streets.
The show is great for families with kids from about four years as young toddlers may find the dramatic music and effects a bit scary.
Top tip: Enjoy Perth Festival for less. 'TIX for $36' gives everyone the chance to score a seat at the best theatre, opera, music and dance in the world for just $36. Limited tickets are available so it’s first in best dressed. If you miss out on this special price in advance, a limited number of TIX for $36 are released to selected Festival events every Friday at 9am.