Saturday, 21 June 2014

Jumping Good Fun

Jump has toured around the world, no translation needed
Just came back from watching a really fun show called Jump that combines martial arts with physical comedy.

It was performed at the Jockey Club auditorium in Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hung Hom and practically all the seats were filled. It's a relatively intimate space which is good for a show like this.

As the audience members were filing in, one of the cast members, an old man, shuffled around and gave candies to children, taunting some of them. Then he got a guy to piggy back him up onto the stage, which set the tone of the show...

An "old man" hands out candies to kids
There's no need to know Korean -- they spoke a mixture of Korean, English, Cantonese and Mandarin but everyone knew what was going on from the humour that was mostly physical. As a result kids were laughing all the way through the 90-minute show.

The basic storyline is about a family of top martial artists who are trained by the grandfather. There's the straight-man father, the rough-and-tumble mother, pretty daughter, drunk uncle and potential son-in-law.

A series of antics allow them to show off their skills and it's quickly evident they know their stuff. Then the grandfather introduces a suitor to his granddaughter and he isn't quite what he seems.

Then during the night two bumbling robbers enter the house and little do they know who the occupants of the home are...

There's fun sound effects to go with the fight scenes and particularly hilarious were the slow motion ones near the beginning of the show. Later on strobe lighting was also used to create a different kind of slow-motion sequence.

Each of the performers owned their own characters by creating their own moves to add a bit of personality, particularly the uncle, the suitor and one of the robbers with crazy hair.

Energetic music with a strong beat encouraged the audience to clap along and by the end they did a series of jumps, flips, and even handstands that were amazing.

He insists on everyone letting him pass by...
The concept for Jump began in 1999 and started as Crazy Family in 2001. Then the performers began to seriously train in acrobatics with a former coach of the Korean Women's National Gymnastics team.

Their first performance was in Japan in 2002 and soon afterwards the show was renamed Jump. Since 2005 it has toured around the world with over 10,000 performances seen by over 4 million people.

It's a pity the Chinese with its long acrobatic history, could not come up with a show like this. It's right up their alley, being the home of martial arts. There's Cirque de Soleil and now Jump. What about China combining all its talents into a money-making show like this? And even better -- a soft power initiative?

Jump has been here since June 18 and runs until Monday. This is the second time the show has come to Hong Kong and hopefully they will come back again soon. Good family fun, if not some hot bods to watch!

Jockey Club Auditorium, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Hung Hom
June 18-23

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