The last time I caught a Korean non-verbal performance was back in 2010 when KTO Singapore included JUMP in our Korea itinerary. Given that it has been a while since I last saw such a performance and that I missed Bibap the previous time it came to Singapore, I knew that if I was gonna catch a show in Seoul, it had to be Bibap. Plus, who doesn't love a good Bibimbap (a mixed rice dish consisting of vegetables and meat typically) right?
The show is centred on a kitchen with two competing chefs - named Green Chef and Red Chef - aided by a motely crew consisting of a beat-boxer, a bumbling fool, a hunky b-boy, a cutesy girl and a hot babe. As the show progresses, they look to the audience to ask them which chef they would like to pick to cook various Chinese (Chicken Noodle), Japanese (Sushi) and Italian (Pizza) dishes. Finally, for the last dish, we then see the chefs battle it out to make the ultimate Bibimbap. For slightly over an hour, the audience is treated to acapella, beatboxing, b-boying, martial arts, acrobatics and many other performance arts. Like the dish after which the show is named, these various elements fuse harmoniously together, forming a palatable and entertaining mix.
Rest assured that though the show is a food-themed one, you will not have food scraps flying out at your during the show. Most of the props they use are, in fact, just props. For example, when they make a pizza, they used a soft, cottony pillow as the "dough". It got really fun for the audience when all the crew members started tossing these "dough" pieces around. Well, almost everything are props... save for the final dish, where they really do make a Bibimbap dish each and get an audience member to try it. I know for a fact that it’s real because... I was the audience member they called up to try both Bibimbap dishes.
While it was quite intimidating being called upstage, it helped that the theatre wasn't at full capacity that evening and there weren't as many people. The crew were also really nice, and being a part of the performance in a way really did make it a lot more enjoyable. I was also really thankful that they didn't make me do anything too embassing. For my efforts I was given a paper rose (by one of the chefs) and a porcelain mug with the Bibap logo on it. (It's sitting on my desk now!)
It was a fun experience, and judging by the laughter from the audience, I could tell that everyone else loved the show too. Non-verbal performances are never easy to pull off. Comedic ones are an even greater challenge given that the crew cannot rely on language elements such as puns and innuendos to make the audience laugh. Nonetheless, I’d gladly say that Bibap delivers. Most of the crew had excellent comic timing and mad dancing and singing skills. But what amazed me the most also, was that every sound in the show was produced by beat-boxing, from the cooking, music accompaniment to fighting sounds.
The show has a segment where the B-Boys show of their abilities. Mad skills!
Piqued your interest? Reserving tickets for the show is a breeze with Trazy. Back when I was doing my Seoul exchange, I remember struggling with Korean websites just to get tickets to performances. Now, all you need to do is head to Trazy's website (http://www.trazy.com/experience/detail/105), pick your date of choice and ticket quantity, and pay via credit card.
The Bibap Cine Core theatre. which is located in the vicinity of Jongno-3-ga station (Line 1, Exit #15), is easy to get to and once you make your reservation, the Trazy team will promptly provide you with detailed instructions over e-mail on how to get there. Collection is easy-peasy too. All I had to do was show my e-mail on my phone to the counter, and they passed me my ticket and pointed me in the direction of the underground theatre. No questions asked.
If you’re in Seoul for a couple of days and want to include a Korean performance in your itinerary, Bibap is it!
Photo credits to Trazy. Thanks Trazy for the wonderful Bibap experience!
Labels: Holidays, Korea