Monday, July 02, 2007

A Soggy Trip To The West With 'Monkey'

Beccy and myself had a fantastic night out last Thursday to see the opening show of Damon Albarn's show 'Monkey - Journey To The West'
I guess it may upset many involved with the show to call it his show.
The so called 'Opera' was directed by Chen Shizhang a renowned director ( he has recently directed Dark Matter with Meryl Streep) and Damon was the composer.

There is so much I could say about this show, but the best thing I can suggest is that you watch the BBC1 show on tomorrow night at 10.40pm and see for yourself.
Preview here

It seems a bit of a vagary to call it an opera really as this may discourage many from going.
It really isn't an opera - other than it is a stage drama led by singing.
Yes there is singing all the way through, but never in a tradition operatic style.
It is sung entirely in Mandarin Chinese.

The show was an insane mixture of martial arts, mad Chinese acrobatics and bizarre atonal orchestration.
There was an amazing undersea scene with huge starfish floating across the stage and a funky giant prawn pushing a trolley laden with a girl spinning parasols on her legs!
( doesn't every show have these nowadays?!)

The guy playing The Monkey king had the most amazing charisma and owned the stage with his energy and swagger.
Who would have thought a monkey would wear a tracksuit!

After the show we ended up outside in what is now boringly predictable pouring rain. We traipsed up the road to the swish Midland Hotel and met up with Chrissie Hynde and her band for a few drinks, and some superb conversation.
I met Chrissie first at the Barbican tribute show, and she was most charming there.
She was in town supporting Rod Stewart at the Man City Stadium and said we could look her up when she was in town.
It was a hilarious end to a superb evening!

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