Ho Chi Minh City | see and do guide

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AO Show Saigon


AO Show Saigon
Opera House, Lam Son Square, Saigon

Our rating
09 Apr 2013

A O is a refreshing new show playing at Saigon's historic Opera House. It fuses dance, circus and musical forms in a vibrant and light-hearted series of sketches that track Vietnam's transition from rural life to urbanisation.

Note: The information provided in this review was correct at time of publishing but may change. For final clarification please check with the relevant service


A O is a welcome break from the cliched "cultural" stuff that tends to find its way into most travel itineraries. It may not be cliché free, but it has plenty more to offer too.

It's an hour of pure fun with acrobatics, dance, theatre and music based around Vietnam's transition from rural to urban life.

Rehearsal, A O
Photo: Mark BowyerRehearsal, A O

A team of mainly expatriate Vietnamese artists are behind A O. The Director, Tuan Le, lived in Germany for much of his life and his past includes a stint with Cirque du Soleil.

A O Director, Tuan Le
Photo: Mark BowyerA O Director, Tuan Le

Bamboo is a core feature of Vietnamese rural life. And bamboo is the delightfully simple foundation for the collection of props around which the A O performance unfolds.

Photo: Mark BowyerA O

Live traditional music accompanies A O's parade of visual treats. It's a great way for the uninitiated to experience some of the wonderful melodic twists of Vietnamese music and adds spontaneity and vitality to the show.

A O's most infectious feature is the exuberant energy of its young cast. That energy is bursting off the stage throughout the show.

A O seems to mark something of a new development in the way Vietnam projects itself to the world. And for that reason, I hope it succeeds. It's definitely a worthwhile inclusion to a stay in Saigon and it's great for families too. Take a look.

Ho Chi Minh City Opera House

Ho Chi Minh City Opera House is one of the city's most noteworthy French colonial buildings. Built at the turn of the twentieth century at the height of the French colonial presence in Vietnam, it became the National Assembly of the US aligned South Vietnamese Government until the fall of Saigon in 1975. After 1975, it became a theatre again and was restored in 1998.

Saigon's historic Opera House.
Photo: Mark BowyerSaigon's historic Opera House.

Travel tips
A O is on the expensive side for a Vietnamese cultural performance - but it's a unique and immensely enjoyable experience. It's suitable for all ages - great family entertainment. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a family ticket available at this time.

Tickets with full stage view start at 890,000VND. Keep an eye out for special prices.

Check the website above for details of show dates and times. The show moves between a location nearby the airport - not very convenient for travellers - and the Opera House.

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Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.

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