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What the critics have to say...

2008-08-17 20:36:56

‘Monkey is a lingua franca of pop culture, a visual and sonic shorthand that anyone, anywhere, can understand’
The New Yorker

‘What’s most encouraging, however, is the sense of something new and exciting being created for the melding of many, disparate styles – pop and classical, Western and Eastern, visual and aural. The audience, about 50 years younger on average than the usual opera crowd, loved it.’

‘This show is nothing like what you have seen before; it mixes fluorescent pop aesthetics with traditional Chinese circus, while making you loose your way.’
Le Parisien

‘Most significant of all, it perhaps heralded the way of things to come. If, as is frequently asserted, the 21st century belongs to China, here was the preliminary look at what its culture may bring to the world: and it was exciting, accessible, constantly surprising and performed with consummate skill.’
Financial Times

‘Chen Shi-Zheng and Jamie Hewlett’s staging is ravishingly pretty and immaculately executed. Some use is made of animation and projections, but there’s no hi-tech or CGI overkill. The magic of old-fashioned painted backdrops complements the acrobatics, tumbles, contortions, juggling and flying of the Chinese opera singers who make up the terrific cast. Fei Yang as the vicious yet sympathetic Monkey King and Yao Ningning as the sublimely innocent Tripitaka are enchanting, with Xu Keija providing comic relief as the venal Pigsy. A bullseye hit.’
Daily Telegraph

‘A daring, dazzling conjunction of Chinese opera, circus and breathtaking imagery’
The Sun

‘Where else would you find acrobats whirling on suspended ribbons or slithering up 20-foot bamboo poles, an orchestra performing discordant tone-clusters, an animated world tour in less than a minute, an octopus pushing a plate-spinning prawn and turtles toting American missiles along-side references to nidana and fried wheat gluten. And, of course, 90 minutes of fascinating music by Damon Albarn, in which Oriental and Occidental forms are skilfully combined. The traditional Chinese elements – brittle wooden percussion and finger cymbals, astringent lute and violin sounds - are blended with western beats, orchestral ostinatos that recall Philip Glass, the whine of bowed saw, fairground and oompah music, sombre brass passages, sprinkled throughout with moments that trigger memories of a vast range of musical touch-stones, from Harry Partch and Laurie Anderson to Georgian chants. What more could you want? Indeed, what more could they have crammed into this enchanting show?’