Friday, November 12, 2010
A scene from a make-believe tv drama called Riverside Story at Chenla tonight with Belle kneeling on stageA phone call from Belle an hour before the performance began got me into tonight's show at Chenla Theatre and what a show it was. The younger element of the audience really lapped it up as the performers in I Should Be So Lucky, which reminded me of a modern version of West Side Story, gave it their all. We had acting, comedy, contemporary dance, realistic fight scenes, singing, acrobatics, paper airplanes, placard-wielding demonstrators, the set of a television drama, scaffolding construction, hip-hop breakdancing and a performance by the latest rock band sensation in Phnom Penh, Cartoon Emo. When I say it had a bit of everything, I'm not exaggerating. The show lasted two hours and had so many sections I've already forgotten half of them. I do recall that two westerners kicked it off with the cliched Holiday in Cambodia, so it could only get better. And it did. Alongwith Belle, some of the country's best up and coming dancers like Chy Ratana, Nam Narin and Yon Chanta rubbed shoulders with the cream of the breakdancers from Tiny Toones. I don't think a Cambodian audience has ever seen anything quite like tonight's show and for that the director Samir Akika should be congratulated. Breaking new ground by giving local artists the chance to express themselves outside their comfort zone is to be commended. Throughout the performance I was waiting to see what would happen next and that can only be a good thing. Bravo.
LtoR: Narim, Nora, Chanpisey, Chanta, Belle and Nabil. The girls were wearing their nighttime attire.