Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Monkey: Journey to the West

We saw Damon Albarn's Chinese Opera at the weekend... It was incredible! For those of you who don't know (this would've included me before the weekend) Monkey is based on an old Chinese fable about a monkey who is born from a stone egg, eats too many peaches of immortality in heaven and is imprisoned by Buddha for 500 years before being released and being tasked with helping a monk to bring scriptures back from the West, facing lots of obstacles and challenges like the Skeleton Demon and Spider Woman. Oh and there's a pig man, some other guy and a horse helping too. So the storyline is pretty easy to follow...

It's a great production, although I must confess to thinking "That's just a guy in a tracksuit with a tail... where's the monkey I was promised?" when we first walked in. It was especially odd because we arrived just as it started and they were very disorganised. I asked the usher to help us find our seats and he looked at the tickets, gestured vaguely with the torch and said "go round the back, they're over there". Obviously not the best directions, so we ended up watching the first half crouched in the aisle!

Anyway, it mixes Jamie Hewlett's animation with Gorillaz-style beats with chinese opera with buddhism with martial arts with Cirque Du Soleil type acrobatics with a bunch of girls spinning plates while doing forward rolls.

It's a real spectacle, I think it's only on a short while longer, but I'd recommend it. Plus you get to see the Millenium Dome and think "Hmm, not as big as I thought".

Here's a link to a trailer for the Opera:


Bex xx

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