see + do
Thang Long Water Puppet Theater
Hoan Kiem District
Tel: 84 4 824 9494
Concierge.com's insider take:
It might seem a bit hokey in an Xbox age, but this 1,000-year-old art form still manages to enchant. The best place to catch a water-puppet performance is this purpose-built theater on the east side of Hoan Kiem Lake, home to a troupe that's toured Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Hidden behind a screen, a team of ten puppeteers use elaborate articulated marionettes carved from water-resistant fig wood to re-create Vietnamese legends and folktales. A nine-piece orchestra with flutes, percussion, and dan baua solemn one-string zitheraccompanies the performances. Even if you don't understand Vietnamese, there are enough sight gags and fire- and water-spewing dragon puppets to get the gist of brisk-moving vignettes like "Catching Frogs'' and "Boat Racing.''
There are six 45-minute performances every day, from 2:45 to 9:15 pm.