Friday, 14 November 2008

Nanta cooks up a storm for the K-popped! Trio

Ready for some cookin': Rooster (right) and I showing off
our Nanta tickets :-)

Believe the hype, folks – the Nanta (Cookin’) non-verbal live show lives up to its many good reviews and here is another one.

Admission pass: A closer look at our 50,000 won tix

We made our way to the GangBuk Nanta Theater for the 5pm show on Pepero Day – a perfect ‘lil end to our first vacation in the land of the Hallyu.

Today’s menu

A quick check shows that the White Team will be taking the stage. Here’s the cast list:

Manager – Kim Moon-soo
Female – Hwang Yoo-kyung
Sexy Guy – Jeong Min-gu
Nephew – Min Seong-jin
Head Chef – Kwon Dae-hee

The story is simple. Three chefs – Head Chef, Female and Sexy Guy – are ordered by the Manager of the restaurant to prepare a lavish wedding banquet within an hour – by “6 o’clock”.

Clean kitchen: The set up before the show

He brings his Nephew to work with the chefs. Initially, the chefs give the newbie the cold shoulder, but they soon warm up to the mischievous boy as they work together on the meal.

Apart from the fall-off-your-seat-laughing comedy, the highly entertaining show incorporates the Korean traditional Samulnori rhythm – a hypnotic beat that enthralls and captivates.

Nanta, which is known the world over, has been running since Oct 1997 and is voted one of “the 10 most famous tourist attractions in Seoul” by the Korean Tourist Service.

Appetizing laughter

The show is such a riot – the comedic timing and chemistry among the actors are delightful. From doing acrobatic-like feats to banging on pots and pans to a mesmerising rhythm, Nanta doesn’t fail to entertain the audience.

Goofing around: Rooster and I entertain Orchid before
the real show starts

Whether it's the slapstick comedy or the spirited percussion play, the actors seem to execute their parts effortlessly and flawlessly. Also, it is obvious that the actors are enjoying themselves (more on that later).

True to its description, there is minimal dialogue in the show since it is all about body language and the most universal of all languages – comedy!

Intimate ambiance

One of the strengths of the show is the intimate setting of the theatre. The GangBuk Theater we went to is actually the largest with a 324 seating capacity. Nonetheless, it is cosy enough for the actors to interact with the audience, making the cast so much more “accessible”.

Bride & Groom of our show: Unsuspecting members of the audience
recruited as extras! - Pic taken from Nanta Official website

To make the Nanta experience even more personal, members of the audience are recruited for some of the scenes! Just be prepared during the soup-tasting and dumpling-making sequences ;-).

With such a cosy atmosphere, expect the actors to take the opportunity to poke fun at the audience, cajole the audience to cheer and clap louder…and oh, conduct a clap-off among the crowd.

Hilarious tid bits

At one point in the show, the Head Chef conducted a clap-off among the audience. Dividing the crowd down the middle into two groups, he tried to get us to mimic his rhythmic claps.

Head Chef: Actor Kwon Dae-hee had a tough time
getting the crowd to clap to his rhythm.
- Pic taken from Nanta Official website

It was a tough crowd that evening as an ahjumma kept foiling the rhythm! It got so exasperatingly funny that the Head Chef had to break character and take a moment to regain his composure. The crowd cheered loudly.

Apart from that, the blossoming romance between Female and Sexy Guy was adorable especially so when the Nephew (my personal fav) kept butting in at the most opportune times.

Comic relief also came in the form of the Manager, who’d come into the kitchen periodically to bark orders at the team.

Manager: Watch out for Kim Moon-soo's signature gesture
in the show ;-). - Pic taken from Nanta Official website

With so much going on, it was amazing that the little details of the show were not overlooked. Take for instance the scene where the chefs were cooking soup. The aroma of soup being cooked actually filled the air! Also, the chefs deftly displayed their "cooking skills" with sharp knives, a wok and fire!

Eye candy dessert

Female: The lovely Hwang Yoo-kyung is the
rose among the thorns.
Pic taken from Nanta Official website

Guys, your eye candy comes in the form of the Female chef who goes about the kitchen in an abs-baring uniform.

Nephew: My personal fav, Min Seong-jin plays
the mischievous newbie cook.
- Pic taken from Nanta Official website

Sexy Guy: Jeong Min-gu plays the macho man who
is vying for Female's affections. -
Pic taken from Nanta
Official website

Ladies, you have a choice between the Sexy Guy or Nephew, both of whom show off their sculpted torso during the percussion grand finale – awesome! – and I mean the percussion play, OK :-P. Ha ha, yeah right.

The verdict:

Highly, highly recommended. It is worth the 50,000 won (RM127) you fork out for the show.

If I were to rate it, I’d give it a 5/5.

Traveller’s tips:

Outside looking in: The GangBuk Nanta Theater
  • You CANNOT walk in to the theatre's box office to purchase tickets (trust us, we learned it the hard way). Make a phone booking! Number to call: 02-739 8288 (when in South Korea).
  • Book early because the show usually plays to a full house.
  • Turn up one hour before the show to collect your tickets.
  • When we were there, the crowd was mostly made up of tour groups.
  • Strictly no photography/ videography during the show!
  • You can purchase Nanta merchandise at the lobby after the show.
  • We took the subway there. Get off at Seodaemun station, Exit #5. For map, please go to the Nanta Official website.
  • More on Nanta here
My Nanta memorabilia: The green plastic ball (left) was one of the colourful balls
thrown into the audience by the cast. Yes, 미안합니다, I took one home :-P.
Wish I could get it autographed, but the cast did not reappear after the show :-(.

Check out other K-popped! Trio in Seoul entries:
Watching Rain on TV everynight in Seoul

Pepero Day is celebrated on 11.11

Happy Pepero Day!


sasjo said...

Now that's one sexy female chef!
Move over Nigella, here's Hwang Yoo-kyung! ;-)

Orchid said...

i really love to seem them beating the drums to the Korean traditional Samulnori rhythm. They do it with such panache. Makes me want to learn how to do it.

What struck me was they were really cooking ~ hence the strong smell. I was afraid one of them might get burn by accidentally touching the hot hot stove.

Oh ya, loads of audience interaction! It was really fun!

ToNiO said...

Tanks for your personnel report of the show Liz.

We're now waiting the 'sequel' story of your journey in Korea.

Anonymous said...

i also did saw their performance once at Genting..haha..but it's few years back~ =P

Liz said...

Your welcome, Tonio :-). Yup will be working on our other stories...and believe me, we have many to tell :-).

Amelia said...

Hi K-Popped Trio! Thanks for the bit about Nanta! Quick question: So it's possible to understand the performance even if you don't know a word of Korean?

Can't wait for your posts about the rest of your Seoul adventure.
I'm planning to visit Seoul sometime in January (during the Lunar New Year) and I would love to read about your experiences.

Liz said...

Hi Amelia,

Yes you will be able to understand the show no matter what language you speak. Minimal dialogue is used; most things are conveyed through actions.

You DON'T NEED to understand Korean :-).

Rooster said...

Mmmm... half naked hunks with defined muscles on drums. *swoon*

noV said...

i wonder why people talk a lot about nanta... i donno what's so interesting about it...

jyiskool said...

i think i saw their show in LA, and i think everyone took the balls home so you probably weren't the only ones

Liz said...

yeah Rooster, the hunks rock! :-P

Anonymous said...

@nov: Read the review-lar.

Tyler said...

This sounds like a fun show. I remember they showed a non-verbal comedy for free last year. Jump, if I'm not mistaken. Maybe this year they will show Nanta?


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