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Art&CultureReview
Nanta review: Serves up a treat in any languageThere is something for everyone at the long-running, award-winning theatrical performance
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승인 2013.12.27  14:14:32
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▲ Nanta is set in a restaurant kitchen and involves the comedy and musical capers of the staff as they attempt to prepare a feast. Photos courtesy Nanta

Cooking, dancing and comedy are not things I would normally associate with each other, but all three were experienced at Nanta! I received the tickets at the recent Furey soccer tournament from Nanta and The Jeju Weekly and although I had heard a lot of positive reviews, I still wasn’t sure what to expect. The show, however, was fantastic, and I would readily recommend it.

Nanta is the longest-running show in Korean history and also runs at three theaters in Seoul. It made its international debut at the 1997 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, winning a best performance award, and has since been staged in 18 countries around the world.

The Nanta writers specifically wanted to redefine how theater was conceived by incorporating music and comedy for an international audience. The show remains distinctly Korean, however, incorporating samul nori, Korean percussion music, and the team’s global goals were realized in 2004 when it opened in New York - albeit “off Broadway.”

The show is based around a Korean restaurant kitchen and four chefs who have an hour to produce a wedding banquet. The restaurant owner’s nephew is put in charge, and many of the jokes revolve around his incompetence and how the other chefs struggle to get the meal cooked in time.

The simplicity of the plot is the key to the show’s success. It begins slowly, with the performers coming on stage and using various kitchen appliances and utensils to produce pounding music. Soon after though, the real heart of the show appears as the cooking, singing and dancing begin.

One of the first things I noticed was the diversity of the audience. There were families, couples, young children, and various different nationalities – a difficult mix to cater for. The show cleverly uses only very simple English and Korean, so no one in the audience struggles to understand the various parts of the story.

We were all laughing from the start, and even a few of the performers were amused by their own unique way of communicating with the audience! The slapstick comedy worked well for the children (and myself, admittedly) and there are also a few more risqué jokes for the adults.

Before the show, I’d been told about the audience participation and I did not have to wait long to find out. As the actors scanned our faces, I thought I had man-aged to avoid their gaze and someone else would have their time to shine. But no, this was my time.

I gingerly stepped up onto the stage, not too sure what to expect. However, it was great, and after various antics (I won’t spoil what happened), I returned to my seat as a minor celebrity among the audience. The show contains lots of drama and jokes throughout and everyone in the theatre is involved, with others also being pulled on stage. The inclusion of everyone was a great touch.

The shows' performers also worked really hard to involve everyone, and they kept the energy high and the jokes flowing. Nanta is a good blend of comedy, dancing and cooking and you will not be disappointed!

Where: Jeju Media Center, 837-20 Ildo 2-dong, Jeju City (Behind the Jeju Culture and Arts Center)

When: Every night, 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Tickets: 60,000 won/50,000 won (Group and other discounts are available. Call or see website for info.)

Contact: 064-723-8878

Web: nanta.co.kr


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