Acrobatics, dance and more
Published/Last edited or updated: 26th August, 2017
Vietnamese themes and culture come to life in a show of acrobatics, bamboo cirque, contemporary dance and folk instruments, on stage in Saigon’s turn of the century Opera House.
Developed in 2009, A O Show was the first production, and introduced Ho Chi Minh City to amazing feats, turning simple things like bamboo and iconic bamboo fishing baskets into a circus art. Now A O Show frequently tours the world and other productions have been introduced. We were disappointed to learn we couldn’t see the original but that was soon forgotten once the curtain went up for Teh Dar; we loved every minute of it.
Teh Dar draws its inspiration from a few tribal groups of Vietnam’s Central Highlands. The live performance features both male and female acrobats, dancers, musicians and singers with mesmerising choreography. The production does play up the “exoticism” but it’s hard not to get swept up in the feeling of curiosity and mysticism, especially since they’ve taken gongs and drums, traditional instruments of the Central Highlands, and upped the ante with intense percussion paired with physical theatre.
What we enjoyed was that there was still a narrative—it wasn’t just people doing impressive tricks, though there was plenty of that. There were interludes of song and joyful moments of humour, where despite not knowing the language, the audience could still connect with it. The only downside is the lack of pamphlet or poster to give an overview, something you would expect of any theatrical production. The show draws from symbols of the Central Highlands—Rong houses, jar wine, gongs—and the average theatregoer may not understand their significance.
For such a unique show, ticket prices are quite affordable. There are three seating sections: 565,000 dong, 945,000 dong, 1,325,000 dong, 35% off for children 5-12 years old. Buy tickets at the box office on the side of the building, and during good weather staff also sell at the front entrance. The box office is open daily 09:00-18:00. Or purchase with a travel agent or hotel who will charge a small commission.
Showtime is at 18:00; there is no intermission. Prior to the show, there are free refreshments and ticket holders can join a hurried 10-minute tour of the Opera House. There is a guide but with so many people, it is difficult to hear anything. In any case, this is the opportunity to take lots of photos of the theatre.
Once the theatre lights dim, thankfully there is an announcement against photography and video. After the show, the cast head to the lobby for a photo opp to satisfy everyone’s photo craving.
Address: Saigon Opera House, 7 Lam Son Square, District 1
T: (028) 6281 6893;
Coordinates (for GPS): 106º42'10.63" E, 10º46'34.73" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: 565,000 dong, 945,000 dong & 1,325,000 dong, 35% off for children 5-12 years old.
Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer/photographer and author of So Many Miles, a website that chronicles the love of adventure, food and culture. After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 she uprooted her life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. She’s travelled to over 40 countries and harbours a deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia. In between jaunts around the world, she calls Laos and Vietnam home where you'll find her traipsing through rice paddies, standing beside broken-down buses and in villages laughing with the locals.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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