A legendary stage show

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A TASTE of the Orient will be brought to the stage later this month when The Chinese State Circus brings its latest show to Northamptonshire.

Mulan is the eponymous legend of one of China’s greatest heroines. Although retold around the world in many different forms, this is the first time the tale has been transformed into an all-action circus performance.

And the spectacular show will be coming to the Derngate stage in Northampton as part of the circus’ tour across the country.

The colourful show gives audiences the chance to explore the inspiring and heroic story of a strong-minded country girl who joined the Emperor’s all-male army in place of her father who was too old to fight.

Through her warrior skills she gets promoted to the rank of general, yet throughout her epic exploits defeating all her enemies no-one realises she is a woman.

There will be entertainment for all the family as leading Chinese acrobats perform gravity defying gymnastics, seemingly impossible body manipulations, the leaping and rolling somersaulting repertoire of hoop diving and the lavish tradition of the lion dance.

The performance is a fusion of acrobatics with traditional Shaolin martial arts, dazzling circus skills, colourful characters from the Peking opera style, physical theatre and drama choreographed to an original musical score.

The action and amazing skills of the performers will keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

Blink and you’ll miss the lightning reactions of the Shaolin Wushu Warriors. Trained at the legendary Shaolin Temple, they stretch the limits of human achievement in this dazzling production.

Philip Gandey, artistic director of The Chinese State Circus, said: “This is circus as you have never seen it.

“There will be 30 world-class artists performing in the best tradition of the Chinese State Circus.”

The title role is performed by martial arts expert Cao Jing, who is making her first appearance in the UK. She started learning martial arts when aged only six and her 15 years’ experience is showcased in a dramatic fight sequence when she encounters a giant warrior.

Joining Mulan for the tale are two of the most colourful characters from Chinese folklore; the Monkey King and his zany companion Pig, who together guide the audience through the adventure.

The show starts at 7.30pm on Monday, January 17 and Tuesday, January 18. There will be two performances on Wednesday, January 19, starting at 5 and 8pm.

Tickets cost between £11 and £25 and can be bought by calling the box office on 01604 624811 or visiting www.royalandderngate.com.