Journey To The West goes Down Under to Sydney Opera House

Sydney - The popular Chinese classic of the mischievous Monkey King will be travelling to the west - sort of.

The new Australian version of Monkey... Journey To The West will be staged at the Sydney Opera House in April, combining acrobatics, song, puppetry and martial arts, reports Xinhua. It will run from April 4 to 19 after a sold-out premiere at the Brisbane Festival last year.

It is created by Kim Carpenter and co-directed by John Bell, both Australian theatre practitioners.

Carpenter told Xinhua: "The Australian sense of humor is similar to the Chinese... there is an irreverence and that is why this production has been a hit with local people.

"But we have also seen Chinese in our audience. We had Chinese Buddhist monks in the audience, and other Chinese who said they saw the poster outside the venue, and wanted to see the Australian production of a story they knew very well."

Asian-Australian actor Aljin Abella plays the titular Monkey, and Australian actor Darren Gilshenan plays his sidekick Pigsy. A Japanese television show called Monkey Magic from the early 1980s has popularised the traditional 16th-century Chinese classic of Journey To The West in Australia.

For this production, the story was adapted by Australian playwright Donna Abela, with music by composer Peter Kennard. There will be live music, projections, giant puppets, and physical theatre from Sydney Parkour artists Team9Lives.

Homegrown Singaporean company Wild Rice did a popular adaptation of Journey To The West last year at the Victoria Theatre. The crowd-pleasing Christmas pantomime, titled Monkey Goes West featured martial arts, shadow puppetry and original music and songs.

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