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The Five & The Prophecy of Prana (Tour - Salford)

Unique and a great night out, says Kristy Stott of this martial arts extravaganza meets Manga comic.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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The Five & the Prophecy of Prana

The Five & The Prophecy of Prana is different to any type of theatre that I have seen before - it is an explosive meeting between martial arts and hip-hop, it is inventive and humourous and if you could watch a live comic book, it would probably be just like this.

In a court scene, five bolshy young delinquents are waiting for the judge to sentence them for their crimes until an old master, Wang Tang intervenes and gives them chance to redeem themselves.

Wang Tang commits to train the five as warriors, Guardians of Prana and so the five are drawn into the power struggle between good and evil as they battle against the formidable and greedy Soo Lin, as they try to restore balance and harmony to the world.

It's a story of redemption and the triumph of good over evil, ultimately it depicts the journey of five young people who demonstrate courage and commitment to training and change their life paths from being hooligans to heroes.

The narrative is helped along by the animated backdrop, influenced by Japanese manga artist Akio Tanaka and created by Yeast Culture animation studio. I found that these images and comic book style captions were crucial in helping me to understand the details in the story.

There is a voice over which is deliberately badly lip synced which pays homage to the classic Kung Fu films. The contrast of these voices and the way that the dancers presented them, injected a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek humour into the action.

Anyway, enough about the narrative, this dynamic theatrical treat is all about the dance. Now, I don't know my crunk from my krump but I'll do my best to describe this high energy Kung Fu meets street dance, meets break dance, fusion.

Choreographed by the acclaimed Kenrick 'H2O' Sandy, the cast have worked with the monks from the Shaolin Temple Warrior School, to create living and dancing manga comic book characters each with their own identity. Michele 'Paleta' Rhyner as Soo Lin moves like a spider, creepily contorting herself in contrast to Jeffrey Felicismo as Wang Tang who moves fluidly like a real martial arts master, telling his characters story through dance.

All of the dancers and the choreography is absolutely electrifying but if I had one criticism it would be that some of the battle scenes were just a little too long. That said, at the end of the show, many of the audience jumped to their feet to applaud rapturously giving The Five & The Prophecy of Prana their strong seal of approval.

The Five & The Prophecy of Prana is at the Lowry until 12 November.

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