Sunday, November 27, 2011

On the verge

The Children of Bassac show returns to the National Museum on Thursday
The 4th edition of the PhotoPhnomPenh festival is taking place this week. It's a French-inspired event so there's no Brits involved amongst the 16 international photographers and 8 Cambodians who will exhibit their work around the city. There will also be evening screenings of various works. You can find out more at their website where I was surprised to find the website has an English translation. That must've stuck in the gullet of the French organizers. One of the exhibitions caught my eye, a unique collection of glass plate photographs by George Groslier, of the postures of the dancers of the royal ballet, recorded for posterity in 1927 and only recently restored and digitized. The collection will be on show at the National Museum.
On the subject of the National Museum, I had a feeling in my water that the excellent weekly traditional dance performances by the youngsters from the Children of Bassac group, and sponsored by Cambodian Living Arts, will return to the Museum very soon. I've just had it confirmed that they will resume this coming Thursday, 1 December at 7pm (tickets $18pp). If they get enough support, they will take it through until April next year but shows like this need the support of the public to continue, as it's not cheap to put on. Their shows are a great combo of classical and traditional dance, with music, under floodlights on the steps of the National Museum. Well worth the investment of your time and money.
A performance that looks guaranteed to draw a big crowd is the forthcoming Comedy Club of Asia show at Pontoon on Tuesday 6 December at 7pm, tickets $10. Three international stand-up comedians will perform, for 1 night only, though if it's a success, I hope it will prompt the organizers to do it again. I was an addict for stand-up comedy at Cheltenham Town Hall in the 1990s where some of the funniest people on the planet often came to perform. Frank Skinner was our compere for more than a year and he was a class act. As were the likes of Jeff Green, Ed Byrne, Jo Brand, Alan Davies, Kevin Day, Lee Evans, Paul Merton and the legendary Steve Coogan.
Finally, back to classical dance and the Khmer Arts Ensemble team at Takhmao will present three dances, from the Ramayana epic, by three different choreographers from Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia, at their headquarters on Saturday 3 December from 7pm, admission is free. Following the show, the dancers and masters will take part in a ten day exchange of ideas and practices. Sounds like a great idea.

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