NANTA, which has won awards all over the world, is the longest running show in Korea. Derived from the traditional Korean performance, “samulnori,” the comic-musical-dance performance has been staged in 278 cities in 42 countries, transcending linguistic and cultural barriers. It tells a story of a manager bringing his nephew to work in the kitchen with three other chefs to prepare for a wedding banquet. Will the cooks finished cookin’ for the banquet?
It is taken for granted that the performance is energetic and hilarious but what is surprising is that it also has a range of other genres, emotions and themes thrown in: horror (in the opening scene), romance, rivalry, friendship and good will. The performers are extremely talented: they sing, dance, and make music with sharp knives. Their comic timing is spot on. They throw things around so quickly my eyes can’t even catch up! In fact, they are so charismatic that the usually-reticent Singaporean audience laugh and clap and cheer for them. Much audience participation is required, which makes the production such a riot. If you’re sitting in the front seats–regrettably I didn’t, I’d love to go on stage–be prepared to be pulled on to stage.
Despite the exciting performance, after the first hour or so, my attention flagged a little. I thought they should have kept it funny instead of going into drumming and dance. But the fault may be mine with my short attention span rather than the production’s because I prefer comedy to action flicks.
In short, the performance won’t win any Shakespeare-related prize but it’s a whole lot of fun and entertainment. Book the front row seats. It’s more fun.
PS: Thank you, Adlena and NANTA, for the complimentary tickets.