Shenyang Hongmofang is a very recent discovery of mine. Always on the lookout for more interesting events in Shenyang that I can share with my readers, I stumbled upon this little theater. Hongmofang is actually the pinyin of the Chinese name for the Moulin Rouge. But that is where the similarity with the Parisian attraction ends.
This variety show by the Shenyang Performing Arts Group gives the interested viewer a brief overview of various typically Chinese forms of entertainment. Instead of trying their hand at cancan dancing or sending barely-clad ladies sashaying across the stage, the producers have put together a good-length program including singing (in Mandarin and for some songs even in English), dancing, opera, magic tricks and more. One of the most interesting acts (at least to me), was to see Er Ren Zhuan (二人转 in Chinese). Er Ren Zhuan is a local Northeastern Chinese folk dance and song.
If you have ever seen the TV Gala put on each year at Chinese New Year, this show is very close to that. But with a Dongbei (Northeastern) flavor. This is Shenyang, after all, not Beijing.
I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and would love to take others to see this cultural presentation. If you are interested, let me know!
Or you could go by yourself. The theater is in Huanggu district, at 10, Yalu River Street (鸭绿江街10号 in Chinese, yālùjiāng jiē 10 hào in pinyin). The venue is called Liyuan Theater (梨园剧场 in Chinese, líyuán jùchǎng in pinyin). Tickets come in three categories, 60 RMB, 80 RMB or 100 RMB, and show time is every single night at 7pm. There is a ticket hotline, but reservations can only be made in Chinese. If you are confident enough in your Chinese or have a Chinese-speaking friend who can help you, however, go ahead and contact them at 024-86893898.
That being said, when I was there, the friend who accompanied me and I were almost the only audience members. So maybe a ticket reservation could even be superfluous. You might just go and try your luck.
When we were there, something funny happened. One of the performers started interrogating us in the middle of his act. I don’t know if he was bored of his usual performance or just genuinely curious. Whatever the reason, he paused in his singing and asked us ALL the questions he could think of. Where we were from. How long we had been in China. Whether we had ever seen a performance such as this live. How we liked it. And so on and so on. Basically, we got a Chinese listening and speaking lesson thrown in for free…