Monkeying Around – Monkey: Journey to the West

By on Wednesday, 26th November 2008 at 7:51 pm

It would be easy to forgive Damon Albarn for resting on his laurels which include the sensational Blur and the one of a kind Gorillaz. However he is far from giving up on the music scene and hoping for a future re-release of one of his past creations. Instead he is turning his magical music wand to Chinese theatre.

If you wondering how Damon ended up in Chinese theatre from Blur then well, erm , I don’t know, but it is certainly a modern wonder of the world. Monkey: Journey to the West is the brainchild of not only Damon but also Jamie Hewlett (the dude who did the art for Gorillaz) and Chen Shi-Zheng who has years of experience in Chinese opera. The actual show lasts 90 minutes and is full of explosive acrobats and crazy martial arts stunts.

Europe and Chinese musicians have been brought together as one in the making of this spectacle with recordings going on from London to Beijing. This really is opera and the theatre made cool with rocky guitars, drum machines and wonderful electronic effects clashed with erm, pigs and, odd giggling girls.

The uniqueness and inventiveness of the play could have easily gone pear-shaped but yet Damon and his buddies pulled through. Songs featured during the extravaganza are like nothing else and the best way to describe them is Gorillaz clashed with Chinese Opera. Monkey bee and Monkey’s World are the stand out tracks and I’ll admit that the music is not going to make you go crazy but it will baffle your ears.

Of course, if you can’t be bothered to go to the theatre, there is always the condensed 22 song album to accompany the show.

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