Vietnamese “cultural” shows, whether a traditional water puppet show or a song and dance performance, can sometimes be disappointing. However, the A O Show Saigon offers something new and completely different — it’s worth checking out.
The A O Show Saigon is an interesting mix of the new and the old, combining elements of Vietnamese music, dance and Cirque du Soleil. Developed in 2009, and performed across Europe, the show currently calls the 500-seat Sagion Opera House, or Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh if you’re more proper, home. The show lasts only a little over an hour, but during that time the performers will amaze you with a variety of feats ranging from travelling across the stage in human-sized baskets to making bamboo/human bridges over which baskets and people are delivered across the stage.
You’ll never be quite sure what’s going to happen next. One minute, somebody is flying around the stage using only ribbons from the ceiling and their own brute strength, the next they’ve formed a breakdance circle and are using a BMX bike to jump over performers laying on the ground.
Accompanying the highly entertaining show and highly flexible – seriously, some of these people can bend their bodies in ways that could start an exorcism – performers, excellent live music is played. All in all, the show at times will leave you in awe of what you’re seeing, a rare thing compared to other more typical performances.
For such a unique show, ticket prices are quite affordable, currently starting at 650,000 VND. Show dates are somewhat stable, playing daily at 18:00 Tuesday through Friday, but these may change. Call or visit the Saigon Tourist shop on Nguyen Hue or Le Thanh Ton to check and book tickets.
Show up a little before the show begins and take the opportunity to explore the Opera House itself, as no tours of the building currently exist. The A O crew also sells a sampler of Vietnamese fruit and coconut to keep you going.
By Max Murta.
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