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Monday, July 04, 2022

Song and Spectacle

A French musical,with spine-chilling aerial stunts and all the elements of a regular Indian nautanki,comes to town.

Written by Somya Lakhani |
May 20, 2013 12:09:49 am

From Kung Fu acts to a flamboyant Mongolian circus,every few months,Gurgaon-based Kingdom of Dreams (KoD) introduces a new spectacle to the city,usually something that puts the audience under a spell. And this summer,they are presenting a musical titeld “Mana- a cirque spectacle from France”,at their majestic Nautanki Mahal.

Unlike last year’s Mongolian circus,which took place at the same venue,this act has a strong story line,and some impressive yet spine-chilling acrobatic and aerial stunts. The musical picks up the oldest and simplest story of the victory of good over evil,pairs it up with some zesty contemporary tunes and intricate costumes and takes the child in all of us to a fairyland. The musical tells the tale of Mana,the mother goddess who creates a harmonious universe but soon begins a power struggle with Volcania,the goddess of fire,as greed takes over her. Other characters include the evil Perfagor,Volcania’s trusted servant; the naive goddess of Earth,Vanity; the goddess of water,Oceane ,and Eos,the god of air. While the dialogues are in English and French,it’s interesting how the makers have used contemporary music to appeal to the younger audience. So there are mermaids and fish dancing to Shaka laka baby and Madonna’s Frozen,apart from some trippy techno tunes during the final duel between Eos and Perfagor.

It’s a visual treat,no doubt,but sitting through the performance for 90 oddminutes is a bit much. The performance could use a little bit of blue streak and move at a better pace. It loses points for being tardy. There are fishes dancing inside a big plastic balloon,bubbles falling on the audience and some eye-popping aerial acts using cloth to depict a tornado. The visuals on the big screen and the wide range of bright costumes used are a delight. Vanity’s vulnerable yet sexy act is adorable and Oceane’s powerful woman role is equally inspiring and fun to watch.

Mana will appeal to one and all,especially the children. Barring the disadvantage of the act’s length,it’s definitely a summer treat for those looking for dance and music indoors.

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Mana is on till August 18 at NautunakI Mahal,Kingdom of Dreams. Tickets priced between Rs 599-3499

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