Soul of Shaolin is an internationally renowned and critically acclaimed martial arts-themed show that is currently running at Troubadour Wembley Park for a limited period only. This is my second theatre production experience with Love Pop Ups London after Play Dead London.
The theatre itself is brand new, seating up to 2000, located in what was the former Fountain Studios site that hosted X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, and Pop Idol. The theatre also hosts a stunning bar.
The storyline centres around the character of Hui Guang, who is separated from his mother at birth amidst war and terror and is adopted by the monks of the legendary Shaolin Temple. What follows is a coming-of-age story, as a young Hui Guang grows up to learn the ancient art of Kung Fu, under the watchful eyes of the Shaolin monks. However, when mother and son cross paths again many years later, he is caught up in that classic tug-of-war between nature and nurture.
Whilst the storyline is nothing new, it is the amazing display of gravity defying martial arts, jaw-dropping stunts, breathtaking acrobatics and heart-thumping musical beats to match that keeps you on the edge of your seat at all times.
The 30-odd crew, flown in from Shaolin, China specially for the show, enthral and entertain you with with their energetic and enthusiastic performances.
Whilst there is no spoken dialogue between the characters, it is very easy to grasp the storyline, partly due to the scripts that appear in the background before each scene giving us a bit of context, but mostly due to the excellent facial expressions, hand gestures and the body motions of the performers.
The set design and accompanying visual graphics and special effects help set the scene beautifully, transforming you to a distant world quite dramatically different to the wet, grey London outside.
The background score is perfectly suited for the fast-paced choreography, gradually building up for the tense moments and easing off whenever the cast is about to perform one of their daring feats.
Perhaps the only criticism was that the show ends on a sombre note and I would have preferred a big, spectacular finish.
Nevertheless, it is a dazzling show. The performance of some of the more junior cast truly makes you gasp in astonishment!
Soul of Shaolin is truly a mind-blowing piece of entertainment. It is a family friendly show and, judging by the reaction of the kids in the audience around us, definitely a must watch for them too!
Words cannot do justice enough to describe this incredible show, so I suggest you stop reading this post and book a ticket to this show, whilst there is still time!
Soul of Shaolin runs from 26th September until 6th of October, and is playing for 18 performances only. Tickets start from £15.00.
Book tickets here.
N.B. I was invited to review the show on behalf of Love Pop Ups London and my tickets were complimentary press tickets, but all opinions expressed in this blog post are solely mine. Images by James Deavin.