Monkey King

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 January, 2011, 12:00am

Until Jan 30, 7.30pm (also 2pm, Jan 29-30), Cultural Centre

Journey to the West may be one of the best-known stories in Asia, but it's also one that many people largely know nothing about.

'Something to do with a journey to the West,' is often given as an explanation, which is quite understandable, given the complexity and length of the original opus.

If reading all 100 chapters of Journey to the West doesn't appeal too much, a more passive option is available. Monkey and friends are coming to Hong Kong in the form of - wait for it - a rock-musical. The story of bickering gods, a monk and a trip to India will be condensed into just 20 chapters, making the story much less work.

The spectacular Monkey King production - which was also performed during the 2008 Beijing Olympics - doesn't claim to present the entire epic but rather is a show inspired by Journey to the West and communicates its main ideas as best as possible in the available time.

It has placed significant focus on the Taoist notions in the novel, for instance, by putting them into as visual a form as possible. Similarly, the five elements of nature are also pushed to prominence in the production.

Monkey King has been written with the whole family, as well as a very 21st-century audience, in mind. If neither the intense colours nor the impressive set design grabs your attention, just go to satisfy your curiosity about what 'the first Chinese rock-musical' looks (and sounds) like. Note that the show is performed only in Putonghua.

10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, HK$180-HK$560, Urbtix. Inquiries: 2677 2333