PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 February, 2008, 12:00am



Hung Hom Ferry Pier Lawn

Reviewed: Feb 8

Battuta is a word invented by Bartabas, the founder of French equestrian theatre company Zingaro, to describe the rhythm of the gypsy musical tradition. It's also the name of his latest show in Hung Hom to celebrate Hong Kong's hosting of the Beijing Olympic equestrian events this year.

Co-presented by the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Hong Kong Arts Festival, the production features 36 horses, 18 riders, a 10-member brass band, a string quintet and a donkey. It combines traditional circus moves with daredevil acrobatic acts and boisterous live music inspired by the gypsy culture of central Europe.

Staged in a marquee, Battuta is set on the morning of a wedding feast as a group of sleepy gypsies and their horses are waking up next to a waterfall. What follows for the next 75 minutes is one riotous scene after another, with brides in white gowns being chased by angry fathers and jealous suitors alike.

Much of the action takes place on or around the horses, which gallop in circles, their riders performing stunts such as somersaults and even playing the fiddle. After about 45 minutes, however, the show becomes a little repetitive and those who came to see horsey disciplines such as dressage will be disappointed, even though there was plenty of galloping and, near the end, harness racing. That's not to say Battuta is not entertaining.

With plenty of slapstick humour, the show is engaging, especially for younger folk who will see there's much more to horses than Happy Valley.

Until Mar 23. Tickets from HK$200-HK$600. Inquiries: 2877 1330