Mulan the Musical was in Vancouver for just one day, and despite the weekend storm forecasts, the crowd that filled Queen Elizabeth theatre was lively and happy to be there.
A little primer for those who missed our Mulan ticket giveaway: Mulan the Musical tells the story of a woman who has been the stuff of legends for 1,600 years, but not through the Disney song and Eddie Murphy dragon antics you might be thinking of.
Told through interpretative dance and heart-thudding drums, the musical was performed by an all female troupe of percussionists. Throughout the show, you could feel the love and passion these artists had for the story, and all the rich Chinese history associated with it. They used a wide range of objects to craft the sound of each scene, from traditional drums, to tambourines, to even plain old rice!
On top of the heart-thudding beat, the performers did their best to include the crowd. During a village wedding on stage, the bridesmaids plucked a (very confused looking) gentleman from the crowd to be the happy groom. The audience clapped along with the festivities and everyone, including the dancers, had a good laugh.
It has to be said though, that I was expecting some singing. It’s a musical after all! But alas, unless you count some excellent battle cries as singing, the production was percussion all the way. There was some traditional Chinese music to accompany the drums, but they played over the theatre’s speakers, which while great, can’t beat a live band or voice.
But overall, Mulan the Musical was a fun evening. I laughed, I ooh-ed and aah-ed, and I watched one of the most legendary women of all time save China while drumming up a tempo that could put Whiplash to shame.