Chinese state circus comes to Yarmouth

As part of a 21-date theatre tour The Chinese State Circus arrives at Great Yarmouth Hippodrome on Friday and Saturday, March 4 and 5, to perform Mulan.

Mulan is based on an ancient Chinese legend of an independent minded young woman who decides to dress up as a man and fight in the emperor’s army against the invading hordes of Huns in order to save her ailing father from death or worse – dishonour.

The cross dressing heroine’s inability to conform to the expected behaviour of a refined marriageable young lady is the stuff of poetry, songs, books and a Disney film but this is her first incarnation in the all-action world of international circus.

The show is billed as the fusion of precision acrobatics, Shaolin martial arts, dazzling circus skills, colourful characters from Peking Opera, physical theatre and drama.

It is said to provide entertainment for all the family, from the world’s leading Chinese acrobats, gravity-defying gymnastics, the seemingly impossible body manipulations of the hand-balancer, the leaping, rolling somersaulting repertoire of the hoop divers, to the lavish tradition of the Lion Dance.

The lightning reactions of the greatest exponents of martial arts, the Shaolin Wushu Warriors, trained at the Shaolin Temple, are said to stretch the limits of human achievement.

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

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“Thirty world-class artists perform in the best tradition of the Chinese State Circus.”

The title role of Mulan is performed by martial arts expert Liu Ye who is making her first appearance in the UK.

Her 15 years of Kung Fu training are showcased in a dramatic fight sequence in which she encounters a giant warrior.

Liu Ye started learning martial arts when she was only six years old, and has won three championship titles.

Joining Mulan are two of the most colourful characters in Chinese folklore, from Peking Opera, the Monkey King and his zany companion, Pig, who are the audience’s guides through the adventure.