Taiwan Season: Bon 4 Bon

This exquisite, delightful show by Chang Dance Theatre riffs on the childhood memories of four boys growing up together and, surprisingly, mangoes. Growing out of improvisation and choreographed by Israeli Eyal Dadon, it has a charming intimacy surely only achieved because it was created by and is performed by the four brothers themselves: Chien Hao Chang, Chien Chih Chang, Chien Kuei Chang and Ho Chien Chang who also founded the company.

Great skill, technique and a finely tuned sensibility

The four young men pace the stage, joshing and cuffing each other affectionately as young boys do, each one breaking off to speak into the microphone and share memories, especially the mock-serious theme of who ate the mangoes. At times their moves are synchronised, in beautifully precise stop-start poses in time to the rhythm of the music played (notably Paul McCartney's Blackbird and Bon Iver's 666) and like the music there is a cool, hip feel, a sophisticated wit and a lightness which looks so natural but, as any performer will know, is the result of great skill, technique and a finely tuned sensibility.

Like in all families, sibling affection is mixed with darker feelings of rivalry and jealousy. Here an undercurrent of distrust culminates in a mock execution of the guilty mango thief. This is performed so humourously as the killer poses with two fingers raised, imitating the James Bond smoking gun, that we know this is all done in jest.

The show's title has many associations. 'Bon' is, of course the French for 'good' but it is also a reference to the American Indie Band, Bon Iver whose name resulted from their founder, Justin Vernon's experiences in Wisconsin, where inhabitants greet each other as they emerge from harsh winters with “Bon hiver” (“Good winter”) implying a good summer will follow. In the same way, this show suggests the brothers' love for each other endures, despite whatever mango crime was committed. You will have gathered that this reviewer adored this show.

Reviews by Stephanie Green

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The Blurb

Guided by Israeli choreographer Eyal Dadon, four real-life brothers take to the stage in a moving story of memories and mangos. The result is a smart serving of fresh, engaging dance by a young Taiwanese company ready to take on the world. Founded in 2011, Chang produces only one work per year. Bon 4 Bon is the first in which the siblings perform together using material that arose from improvisations centered round their individual experiences of being related. Together they’ve concocted a touching, humorous look at the slippery rhythms and habitual behaviours of family.