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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Korea's Break Out troupe wow Kuala Lumpur audiences and leave them in stitches.


Korea's Break Out troupe wow Kuala Lumpur audiences and leave them in stitches.

AFTER WEEKS of anticipation, Break Out finally stormed into Malaysia for a hugely successful debut. The Korean extreme dance comedy theatre staged four shows over the weekend to enormously appreciative audiences at Dewan San Choon, Wisma MCA in Kuala Lumpur.

Created by Yegam and Sevensense, Break Out is directed by Jeon Jun-Beom and tells of five jail- breakers who yearn for a taste of freedom when an ancient sacred text falls from the sky into their midst. The magical book has mysterious powers that cause everyone in its vicinity to break into dance or launch into inspired beatboxing.

The 75-minute action-adventure, which boasts Korea's leading B-boys from international award-winning crews, impressed with top-notch B-boy skills.

I had the good fortune of watching Break Out in Seoul three weeks ago, courtesy of the Korean Tourism Organisation. And what can I say?
My first taste of the high-energy performance had me completely hooked. After the show ended, I wished I could hit a replay button somewhere so I could watch it all over again.

Although the show in Kuala Lumpur had a slightly modified set of props and a completely different set of performers, l'm glad to report I enjoyed the show just as much.

The Kuala Lumpur stage was barely able to contain the quirky characters as they went about trying to break out of prison. The fun factor was raised further as the action often spilled off-stage and involved some hilarious audience participation.

The set design is truly ingenious for the production has but a single prop, which is innovatively designed to be a life-size pop-up book. With the turn of every gigantic page, the audience is taken through the different stages of the jailbreakers' madcap escapade starting with their rip-roaring break out from prison through cut-away tunnels to a boisterous hospital and then a comical convent.

Highlights of the show include the side-splitting tunnelling episode, where the performers had tiny puppet versions of themselves strapped to their heads as they made their way through the narrow mute.

In hot pursuit of the five jailbreakers - old man Gray, brawny Lump, silly Joker, perverted Tricky, ladies' man Dandy- were prison warden Gundog and special agent SWAT.

The B-boys who performed in Kuala Lumpur were Kim Yong-Nam (Lump), Son Hyuk (Gray), Cho Min- Chul (Dandy), Han Chul-Hee (-Tricky), An Yong-Chan (Joker), Park Jae-Hong (Gundog) and No Seung-Min (SWAT). Three beautiful women played by B-girls Kim Jin-Hee, JangJi-Hee and Son Sun-A, portrayed a trio of wardens, cops, nurses and nuns.

Young children were heard giggling non-stop during the dance troupe's amusing antics, throughout the family-friendly show while B- boy fans were constantly cheering to their every spin, flip, roll, glide, pike, flare, halo and freeze.

Break Out struck a delightful balance between extreme dance and slapstick comedy wowing the audience with superb comic timing as well as lively acrobatics. Add to that some very infectious beat-boxing and a heart-thumping score, and the troupe had the audience completely won over.

Along with Nanta (kitchen percussion comedy) and Jump (extreme martial arts comedy), Break Out (extreme dance comedy) is the latest must watch for fans of Korea's non-verbal performances.

A roar of approval erupted as the 10 performers took their curtain call, but the show was yet to end as the exuberant audience immediately launched into chants for an encore. Lump (Kim) and SWAT (No) emerged with a round of brilliant beat-boxing before the rest of the troupe joined them on stage with another frenzied round of breaking. * Organised by Korea Tourism Organisation, the Break Out charity performances are managed by events management company GF~, presented by Korea Sparkling and sponsored by LG. The show has the support of the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture Malaysia, the Venang government, the Malaysian Association of Hotels and the South Korean Embassy. Media partners include Star Publications (M) Bhd, 8TV and One FM. Following the four shows in Kuala Lumpur last weekend, Break Out will stage another two charity perform- ances in Penang at Dewan Sri Vinang tomorrow (May 27) and Thursday (May 28) at 8.30pro. Net proceeds of the Kuala Lumpur shows were donated to the LG Cleft Lip Project and those of the Penang shows will be channelled to D'Home Mental Health Association. Tickets are priced at RM63 and RM93 and available at authorised Axcess outlets or via their hotline (03- 7711 500) as well as G Hotel (Gurney Drive, Penang) and Dewan Sri Pinang (before showtime) or via Asthy Tan (017-606 6788). Four 42" LG television sets were given away to lucky ticket-holders at the Kuala Lumpur shows, with another two sets up for grabs at the remaining charity performances.

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