The Shaolin Warriors performed last night at the Orpheum under the auspices of World Music/Crash Arts. The Warriors perform stylized Kung Fu demonstrations which, as the Globe says are "a spectacular display" and "a great show."
When the performance flowed across the boundary between martial arts and ballet, it was beautiful. The Shaolin hovered in air one minute, and crawled along the ground the next. Two particularly narrative pieces resided at the heart of the show: a late summer afternoon on the surface of a pond complete with water striders, and insect fights, and a drunken brawl at the monastery.
When the show turned to the boundary between the fakir and the World Wrestling Federation, it grew a little tiring. They broke stones over their heads; they supported each other on spears; they broke stones over their heads; they sliced cabbage - at least it was Chinese cabbage - against their chests; they broke stones over their heads; they broke stones on their chests while resting on a bed of nails; oh, and they broke stones over their heads. While the first stone stunned the audience, the Warriors milked this for all it was worth and then some.
A prime component of the audience was young children. Channeling the eight year old inside me more strongly might have put me in the right mood for resting on a bed of nails. The performers were well aware of their audience and at one point brought all the young children on stage to perform with them. Some of the young ones upstaged the troupe with their antics and the slightly older ones were perhaps better able to follow the performers than the adult audience members who were brought up later in the show. While I would have preferred more ballet and less breaking of stones, the audience had a great time, even if some of them were up past their bedtimes.