Gallery: Saucy fighting - but is it art?

A TASTE of China came to Colchester with a free event in the town which included face painting, story telling - and a ketchup and soy sauce fight.

Annie Davidson

A TASTE of China came to Colchester with a free event in the town which included face painting, story telling - and a ketchup and soy sauce fight.

The China Towns event went ahead in Castle Park yesterday despite steady rain and chilly temperatures throughout the day.

Old and young gathered to watch the entertainment which marked the Chinese New Year and was part of the Essex-Jiangsu Festival, a nine-month celebration of the county's links with the Chinese province.


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As well as music and dance performances, the performing duo Mad For Real entered a specially constructed area where they had a soy sauce and ketchup fight.

Advertised as being about 'globalisation and marginalisation', the pair used the “popular products of consumerism” to squirt each other.

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At times the watching public also got a layer of sauce on them as the liquids breached the Perspex walls of the 'bear pit' where Yuan Chai and JJ Xi's fight took place.

The men got through around 20 bottles of each sauce as the battle went on and having begun fully dressed were down to just boxer shorts by the time they finished.

They were watched by around 200 people who braved the rain to watch the fight unfold.

Stephanie Annis, of Brightlingsea, watched the performance with her eight-year-old son, Finlay Leroux.

“I am here because my son is watching it. I am absolutely freezing but he is enjoying it,” she said.

“I wouldn't call it art, I am quite a sceptical art person but my son is loving every minute of it.”

Tamsin Kilbey, of Colchester, said: “I think it is brilliant - really good.

“I would call it art, it is nice to see different cultures and celebrate them and they are doing a good job at it.

“This sort of thing attracts children because it is fun but it is educational as well.”

Nine-year-old James Warren and his sister, Rebecca, seven, watched Mad for Real with their grandmother Frances Hydes and said they had enjoyed the performance.

James said: “It was a bit stranger but I did enjoy it.

“It is sort of like art because they are getting it (the sauces) all over each other.”

Rebecca said she liked the fight but had preferred having a go at calligraphy writing, one of the many other free attractions laid on during yesterday's event.

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