The joyous , playful and athletic À Ố Làng Phố is a truly entertaining and absorbing show. From the dramatic and sparsely lit opening to the extravagant dancing and singing finale this show is constantly entertaining.

As we entered the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House we saw on stage a collection of upturned Vietnamese circular woven boats and heard the sound of the sea. These picturesque boats are found along the coast of Vietnam and produce fond memories for visitors and locals. This was a promising introduction and the subsequent performance lived up to expectations.

À Ố Làng Phố,which translates to “from village to city,” tells the story of Vietnam’s transformation from a rustic village society to a country with many bustling towns and cities. It also tells the story of individuals moving from the rural countryside to urban areas. In the village the people play simple games, listen to and play folk music and are surrounded by frogs and ducks. They move to the city which is full of factories, motorbikes, pop music and break-dancing. They live in too close proximity to each other and squabble but ultimately adapt to this dynamic, energetic way of life.

This story is told with deceptively simple props, the circular woven boats in various sizes and bamboo poles, which are icons of Vietnamese culture. This was an intelligent use of technologies available to the Vietnamese. Objects that are ready to hand are put to use in very practical ways. The incredible athleticism, skill and gracefulness of the performers as they vault, tumble and leap across the stage is spectacular and makes the story come alive. The beautifully conceived and executed lighting design and production is another crucial component of this excellent production. The on stage musicians are of the same high calibre as the other aspects of this show and add to the story and the enjoyment of the evening.

Accolades to all involved. Directed by Tuan Le. Original concept of Tuan Le, Nguyen Nhat Ly, Nguyen Lan Maurice and Nguyen Tan Loc. Musical director is Nguyen Nhat Ly. Artistic director is Nguyen Lan Maurice. Choreographer is Nguyen Tan Loc.

À Ố Làng Phố is highly recommended and the audience’s warm response indicates their strong approval. À Ố Làng Phố is at the Sydney Opera House until 15th June.