Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

“Go on, you’re only here once.”
“I’m not sure,” I say, my eyes once again flicking upwards to the creature in the glass case.
“Go on! You’re in the queue now, you’re going to have to buy a ticket.”
“Ok, fine. I’ll come.”

Before we leave, I look towards the giant wooden puppet in a glass case at the front of the theatre and repress a shudder. What am I doing?

We return later in the afternoon. I try some optimistic thinking enroute: You’re probably not even that scared of them anymore, it’s just a silly thing you were frightened by when you were little. It might even be fun.

We arrive with a few minutes to spare before the show starts and there aren’t many spaces left. The auditorium is dark and I am guided to a seat by myself in the middle of a row.

This won’t be that bad.

I clasp my hands together, rest them on my thighs, hoping I look intrigued by the culture about to unfold. It probably looks like I’m praying.

I check out the scenery, eyeing the turquoise water warily.

A puppet in a gold G string comes storming through the water, with one of the band members to the side of the stage providing his macho voice. His arms are swinging violently.

Oh God.

What have I done?

What’s going on? Why is he wearing golden underwear? What is he saying?

His face looks demonic. I fear he will take my soul and I clasp my hands tighter together.

My heart beat calms down when the human puppet goes away and I am treated to a gentle piece with fish swimming.

This is alright, I find myself cheerfully thinking, watching two long necked peacocks bob about. I’ve absolutely no idea what’s going on but this is fine.

Hold on. They’re bobbing their necks an awful lot and are very close to each other. Are they meant to be having sex? A golden egg floating to the top of the water answers that question.

Right. OK then. On with the show.

A fleet of puppets enter the stage, all of them carrying fire.

This is it. This is where I die.

I cannot shake the fear the puppets will come off the stage and attack the audience.

Ludicrously, thoughts of the Benny Hill theme music and pantomime chase scenes enter my mind and I fight back a hysterical laugh.

I don’t feel remotely like laughing when 20 or so puppets enter the water and start dancing some form of cancan. The clacking of wooden limbs makes my spine freeze.

I physically cannot bring to look at them so count the leaves of the scenery instead.

Clackclackclackclackclack. I make the mistake of looking down. They are still dancing and I can’t move a muscle.

The show ends with a golden turtle, which seems harmless enough. A sigh of relief escapes as the lights fade up.

Thank the Lord I’m only there once.



No pictures because 1. I didn’t take any during the show 2. Trying to find on Google freaked me out too much.



One thought on “Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

  1. Pingback: Vang Vieng | The Little Sail Boat

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