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CALENDAR 2 - 20 MARCH 2011

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Updates from the 2011 Artistic DirectorElisabeth EastherSchools Review CompetitionReviews
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Vietnamese Water Puppets Reviewed by Thread

By - 6 Mar 2011
"Vietnamese Water Puppets or ‘how to introduce your kids to the Auckland Arts Festival.’"

"Arts festivals are great for those of us who like to think we are sophisticated and cultured, but how did we get to that point? Usually it's because, at some point in our lives, we have been exposed to the arts and developed a lifelong appreciation of arts and culture as a result.

And so it was with the wonderful Vietnamese water puppets on a warm Sunday afternoon. I took my 8 year old son to the show and as a result, I feel like I have helped set him on his journey of appreciation of the arts.

The Thang Long Troupe are highly regarded for their unique water puppetry. That's what the programme stated, and having witnessed them I can accept that statement as something more than a mere marketing tagline.

It doesn't matter if you don't have children to take, there's something for everyone here - even for the hipsters sipping wine in the second row who were, like all of us, enthralled by the performance.

Kicking off with a few orchestral numbers from the musicians, the excitement really began as puppet drummers burst forth from the pagoda, and barely let up for a full 40 minutes, taking us through traditional activities of rural life in Vietnam. Fishing, rice planting, harvesting, frog catching and children playing all featured along with more traditional mythological creatures including dragons, fairies and the king of all birds - the phoenix.

There's simple enjoyment here. Even my video game fanatic son was delighted with the performance and I found it difficult to watch the performance when his delight was so evident it was hard to not enjoy his sheer happiness by the show.

I guess that's it in a way - a wonderful show that I would heartily recommend to all, and who knows - perhaps water puppetry is a door that will lead to a lifelong enjoyment of the arts. We left with Mr 8 having really enjoyed the show - and me feeling like I had opened a door for him."

By Lane Hannah 6 March 2011.



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