The play is inspired by the writings of 16th Century Chinese author Wu Ch’eng-en (‘Journey to the West’) – a string of fairytales about a character called Sun Wukong, or, as he is commonly known – Monkey King. In his play Teevan simply calls him Monkey.
As punishment for his ill behavior and the chaos he is constantly causing in heaven, Monkey is imprisoned beneath a mountain for 500 years. To be redeemed he must then guide the Buddhist monk Tripitaka from China and through the Himalayas, on a mystical quest in search of some sacred scriptures. On their journey Monkey and the monk encounter demons, spirits and dragons – some of them trying to stop them, kill them, torture and eat them – others, as the pig-monster, Pigsy, and the river monster, Sandy, turn out to be humans who have been punished with their present forms. Monkey breaks the curses, and Pigsy and Sandy become his true disciples, following him and the monk.
Colin Teevan’s adaptation is brilliant and great fun to watch: It maintains the serious, spiritual content of the story and even succeeds in adding a lot of humor – which works well with children and grown-ups alike.
The press wrote about Mick Gordon’s production of MONKEY at The Young Vic (2001):
“The result is lively, action-packed, and palpably child-delighting” ( ) “The personification of the monk as a beautiful woman adds a gratuitous erotic element” (The Guardian)
From age 7