Who’s pulling the strings here?

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

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Next time you’re in Bangkok, don’t miss an amazing new attraction at King Power’s Downtown Duty Free Complex.  

The Aksra Theatre is an integral THB600 million (US$19 million) component of King Power Chairman Vichai Raksriaksorn’s dream of a one-stop culture-to-entertainment-to-shopping extravaganza in downtown Bangkok.

The duty free centre opened in August 2006 and is already established as one of the world’s finest downtown travel retail operations. It’s supported by the newly opened 400-room Pullman Bangkok King Power, a nicely understated and elegant addition to the city’s five-star hotel ranks.

But we suspect that the Aksra will become the greatest attraction of all. The 600-seat facility features exquisite Thai baroque decor that lends an almost ethereal air. The theatre has been designed to resemble a heaven and the walls on either side are adorned with the figures of angels. It’s sumptuous yet tasteful.

In coming weeks the Aksra’s major theatrical attraction will begin – a puppet show.

But these are no ordinary puppets as The Moodie Report found out when we were privileged enough to gain a sneak preview of the show during rehearsals. The approximate one-hour performance involves an entrancing and curiously moving symmetry between puppetry, handlers, music and dance.

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Each beautifully formed puppet has a distinct character, each brought to life by three performers in a magical way that is almost impossible to capture in words.

It’s everything theatre should be – entertaining and culturally enriching in equal measure. And it’s also interactive. The audience gets to meet the puppets at the end of the show as The Moodie Report discovered.

The effect is amazing and their expressions are conveyed with such realism that one soon realises that, in emotional terms, it’s the puppets that are pulling all the strings.  

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Look at the finery of the figures and the costumes, all part of an extraordinarily graceful experience. I have never seen anything like it – and that was just the rehearsals. King Power employs a troupe of around 86 human performers (plus back-up and technical staff), who handle a collection of nearly 100 puppets.

The show will take place each evening, boosted by a matinee performance at weekends.

Beg, buy or steal a ticket to the greatest puppet show on earth. I promise you, for one night in Bangkok you will be enthralled. 

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