Cheeky Monkey

Went to see Monkey – Journey to the West this weekend at Spoleto and was really impressed with the mix of music, acrobatics and opera that combined with video animation.

It’s an old Chinese tale that’s been put in a contemporary setting on a stage. It’s not quite an opera, musical or circus; but more of a blend of opera, pop, acrobatics, martial arts and animation. Sort of a modern day opera. The story is lead by a monkey who, after he is hatched from a stone egg, begins his journey for immortality and magical power.

Apparently, the show first premiered in the UK at the Manchester International Festival to rave reviews last Summer, and now Stateside at the Spoleto festival.

The man behind the music is Daman Albarn, lead singer of former Britpop band Blur, and the creative concept and animation by Jamie Hewlett, co-creator of cartoon band Gorillaz.

The blend of old and new, the mix of traditional music with modern day pop and the combination of stage and animation works really well.