Thursday, July 14, 2016

MBS's Shaolin: Video Preview and Review

MBS Mastercard Theaters, Marina Bay
13 July 2016

Review by Hawk Liu

The video below was taken at the media event where we saw excerpts of the show's finale. I managed to also eavesdrop onto an interview with the show's manager, Steve Nolan. He gave a brief account on how the show was put together and how the Shaolin traditions have evolved with the times.

I asked him a question which I didn't manage to put on video - I thought Shaolin was originally for Shaolin monks and so why were there women in the show. He explained that one of the 5 surviving members of the Shaolin massacre was a woman! Well I learn something new everyday!

With historical Shaolin images as the backdrop, real Shaolin monks and students gave a sincere demonstration of their arts. The story was told of the massacre of the Shaolin monks by the emperor in ancient Chinese history, and how the 5 surviving members of the Shaolin exponents carried on the traditions till this day.

There were flying acrobatics, bare human bodies countering sharp metal objects and lively weapon fights. The long whips were swung over the audience so that I, sitting in the 3rd row, was cringing as the whips seem to have went over our heads. Actors in full costumes played various roles to fill the gaps in the story. Two lady musicians in costume enhanced the prerecorded music with live playing on various instruments.

While we were only shown a few scenes in the preview, the full show promises even more spectacular feats - we will get to see performers perform a handstand on two fingers, breaking a slab of concrete over two men lying on a bed of nails, breaking iron bars on the head and being lifted above the ground on spear points. This along with the tightly choreographed dance and fight routines make this show an inspiring testament to human endurance and determination.

Shaolin runs till 31 July 2016. Check out the Events Page for tickets!

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