Sunday, 14 October 2007

Monkey, Journey to the West

Another fun thing we did last weekend was go to see Monkey, Journey to the West at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris. A re-imagining of a Chinese legend, played as a Chinese 'circus opera', in and energetic and creative performance from more than 40 acrobats, vocalists, Shaolin performers and martial artists. It was spectacular.

With a musical score from Damon Albarn and visuals and design by Jamie Hewlett, the team behind the Gorillaz brought their contemporary style and vision of a classic 'journey' story to the stage, directed by Chen Shi-Zheng for a breathtaking pop opera. In true Albarn style, the show eschewed London and premiered at the Palace Theatre as part of Manchester International Festival back in June, before starting its tour with a sell-out run at Paris's Theatre du Chatelet in September and October, before continuing on to Berlin's Staatsoper Unter den Linden, as a co-production between the three theatres.

The two hours passed in what seemed like about 40 minutes, in a blur of Hewlett animation, musculoskeletal-defying acrobatics and beautiful music. Despite being sung in Chinese, the story was easy to follow even without the French surtitles and left us inspired and enegised. If ever you are anywhere near Berlin in June 08, sell your grandmother for tickets. You'll love the dancing starfish...

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