Published On: Sun, Jul 7th, 2019

Things We Saw Today: Sia’s Kung Fu Musical Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise Is a Thing That’s Happening

How’s this for a Mad Libs-inspired sentence: Sia and Kung Fu Panda writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger have collaborated on Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise, a “futuristic kung fu musical” inspired by Bruce Lee. The kung fu musical (kung fusical?) is currently playing at The Shed in Manhattan Hudson Yard.

The synopsis for the show tells “the story of a secret sect in Flushing, Queens, that possesses the magical power to extend human life, and the twin brother and sister caught in the struggle to control it.” The show is directed by Chen Shi-Zheng (Dark Matter), and if all these elements seem like they don’t quite mesh together well … that’s because they don’t.

Jesse Green of the New York Times described the show as “Usually when I see an awful show I try to understand what happened. What were the authors trying to accomplish? What experience did they mean to impart, what feelings did they hope to arouse? I mean beyond those I scrawled in my notebook during Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise, which opened at the Shed on Thursday: experiences like ‘Huh?’ and feelings like ‘Get me out of here.’”

Theatermania called the show “Cirque du Soleil’s Low-Rent Cousin” while /Film’s Caroline Cao called it “This mishmash of creative decisions results in such a half-hearted experiment. If I desired my share of kung fu entertainment in abstracted realms, I should have watched movies like Hero or House of Flying Daggers.”

And here’s the thing: people like Sia, they like martial arts, they like musicals. But some flavors just don’t taste right together. Have you seen Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise? What did you think?

(via /Film, image: YouTube)

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How are you spending your holiday weekend, Mary Suevians?

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