Originating in the rice paddies of the nearby Hong River Delta, traditional Vietnamese puppet theatre uses the water as a stage while the gliding puppets are controlled by actors hiding behind a screen. Shows in Hanoi feature traditional instrumentation and exceptional acrobatic feats while performers are mired in waist deep water. The performances are in Vietnamese; nonetheless, with all the flashy colours and movement there is enough happening to keep even the most jaded spectator entertained. There are a number of water puppet performances worth attending in Hanoi, so be sure to seek the shows out.
Water puppets are made of lacquered wood and performances are staged in a shallow pond of water. An inconspicuous metal or wooden rod props up the puppets giving the illusion that they are prancing over the water. The marionettes are manipulated by puppeteers who are tucked out of view behind a screen. Definitely check out a water puppet performance when in Hanoi. Show times and ticket prices vary according to day and venue.