Event review: Shaolin Kung Fu at Cairns Civic Theatre
China's Shaolin Kung Fu monks chopped, kicked and flipped their way through Cairns last Thursday to Saturday, to sell-out crowds at Cairns Civic Theatre.
Make no mistake, Shaolin Kung Fu isn’t a blockbuster show with massive dollars spent on production values.
It instead relies on the pure skill, dedication and endurance of its talented kung fu monks to carry the show through from start to finish – something that made the whole production a lot more authentic and in keeping the monk’s evidently spiritual ways.
From graceful solo displays of various styles of Shaolin kung fu, through to mock one-on-one fights, weapons, displays of great pain endurance and the traditional lion dance, Shaolin Kung Fu gives a unique and very much traditional snapshot of one of the world’s oldest martial arts.
It’s hard to pick the best part when the whole two-hour show is so captivating, but Master June’s rock smashing was definitely an early highlight, as was the opening to the second act, which featured two traditional Chinese lions playing with a kung fu fighter with a ball.
Show producer Hao was also comical when he took to the stage between displays to explain to the crowd what was coming next.
However, the pick had to come in the last two sequences, as the troop’s leader Master Shen finally took to the stage with a slow and stylistic display that resembled as much graceful ballet as it did martial arts.
The show then finished with no less than 10 people from the crowd coming to stand on a board held up by only the chest of the Shaolin Kung Fu’s toughest monk.
Most of the time the crowd didn’t know whether to hold their breath or applaud, but if the thunderous applause was anything to go by at the end, the packed house clearly enjoyed the show.
I, for one, was rapt.
Growing up on a healthy diet of Chinese kung fu movies as a child, it’s great to see all those moves you see in classics like Shaolin and The Wu-Tang and the 36 Chambers Of Shaolin aren’t just tricks of the camera.
This was the real deal!
>> Review by Jesse Kuch. Shaolin Kung Fu was at Cairns Civic Theatre from Thursday-Saturday last week. Shaolin Kung Fu is visiting Australia with the support and leadership of Grandmaster Yan, chairman of the Chinese Kung Fu Association and Grandmaster for the Oriental Institute of Martial Arts in China.
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Spectacular: China's Shaolin monks. Picture: AFP