MCBF presents MONKEY! at Z-arts

First we had to learn to listen carefully, and to clap and to be amazed. Then we travelled back in time to a world before computers, or iPads, or even television; before people even had paper to write on, to the world of ancient China, to the magical world of Monkey! But not just any monkey, a cheeky, adventurous and quite naughty monkey, hatched from a stone egg to become King of the Monkeys for five hundred years.

‘MONKEY!’, is the creation of the wonderful Michael Rosen. Written especially for PuppetCraft, the show is a magical journey for adults and children alike. With beautiful animation, fabulous antique wooden puppets that really can fly on clouds and magically change form and a monkey that get’s quite windy when he eats a peach, the whole audience was enchanted.

From the beautifully delicate, 200 year old, Chinese shadow puppets, to live music using traditional Chinese instruments and the gorgeous fabrics, every detail of this show contributed to a fantastic afternoon.

Our Festival Directors, Kaye Tew and James Draper were visibly terrified when the fire breathing dragon appeared! They were sad when Monkey took the plug out of the lake and all the water drained away. And they wept uncontrollably when they thought Monkey had died fighting the horrible dragon. But naughty monkey wasn’t about to give up! He tricked his way through even more adventures until the show reached a happy ending. Phew!
Afterwards, the audience were able to come down to see the set and the puppets up close and talk to PuppetCraft’s director, John Roberts, who trained for six months in China to learn about a puppet tradition that goes back 3000 years. Oliver and Rose bought a copy of the handmade comic book, with words by Michael Rosen and illustrations by Joanna White. Rose said that of all the puppets she liked Monkey best, Oliver, who is writing his own story for the MCBF Reading and Writing Relay, said he loved the dragon.

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