Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Shaolin Warriors Assemby Hall Theatre Tunbridge Wells

Shaolin Warriors
Assembly Hall Theatre
Tunbridge Wells

7th June 2011

Word of mouth recommendation is always a great way to find out about a great show of any kind. We missed the Shaolin Warriors at Eastbourne's Congress Theatre thinking a martial arts show might not be our cup of tea.

Then a member of staff at the Congress asked if we'd seen it and said we'd missed a tremendous show.

Well with the Assembly Hall at Tunbridge Wells also on the tour list there was still an opportunity to right a wrong decision.

I think a packed house gave us a pretty good idea that we had made a good decision.

A good mix of ages in the crowd too. Plenty of kids amongst them and not just teens, many under 10's were taking a great interest in this. There was one thing I did notice with all the kids at this show. They were so incredibly well behaved. Whether that's down to respect for the martial art displays or that there is so much always going on to entertain them I don't know but it was nice to see so many youngsters appreciating a live show.

They get their reward too in the form of the chance to go on stage performing with the Shaolins in the first half. No they don't get to lay on razor sharp swords, have a bed of nails and great weights on their chests or have wooden bars cracked over their heads but they do get the chance to copy many impressive moves.

About 40-50 kids went up on stage for this experience, a few girls amongst them. Only a few of these had last minute nerves and decided to come off. I must say the Shaolins were amazing at spotting any children who were showing signs of stage fright.

The kids were keen, determined and yes, often hilarious. They all gave every move 100% including the grunts that went along with the actions. My wife spoke to one little girl in the interval who said she really enjoyed it. This must inspire a lot of kids to take up martial arts as a hobby.

In fact I have to say I thought the kids put a lot more energy into their attempts than the couple of adults did in the second half. It was a bit of a lacklustre effort to say the least.

But the Shaolins? Outstanding. Again they have all ages in their line-up with the 2 youngest children having just as much skill and dedication as their elders. An incredible display of strength, precision and stamina by all the Chinese masters of kung fu.

The beautiful music, always playing in the background, just adds to the tremendous atmosphere.

The other thing noticeable was the vocal appreciation these masters of their art received throughout the 1 hour 40 minute show (excludes interval). Martial arts is clearly hugely popular as a stage act if it is sufficiently entertaining and there is no doubt that this production is engrossing throughout.

A show of strength, of incredible physical stamina and of power yet at all times the Shaolin Warrior monks keep this a deeply humbling experience too.

Even if you thing martial arts is really not your thing give the Shaolin Warriors your consideration. You may just be surprised.

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