Monday, December 15, 2008

Journey to the West at the O2 Dome

The journey west from Lewisham to the O2 Dome is mercifully short via the DLR .

The grandchildren are at that in-between age for pantomime when they think it's for 'kids' , so I was resigned to 'Madagascar 2' and a meal at Nando’s for their annual Christmas outing. Then tickets for 'Journey to the West' came up at short notice. For me it was a bonus that the show is based on the Chinese classic ‘Journey to the West’, known to some from the TV series, ‘Monkey’.

The anarchic hero sets out on a quest for immortality with his strange companions. They include aptly-named Pigsy and a Prince who’s been changed into a horse. Journeying through places with exotic names, they meet a set of oddball characters who help or hinder them in their quest for immortality.

Children in the audience were entranced by the multi-media presentation, which had lots of acrobats, martial arts and characters flying through the air on wires. Nine scenes included ‘The Crystal Palace of the Eastern Sea', 'Heavenly Peach Banquet' and 'Volcano City' , all with fancy costumes and live music. There were subtitles for the Chinese dialogue, but most of it wouldn't have made sense to anybody who didn't know the story, and it didn't detract from the spectacle.

My adult companions whinged at the length of the performance and at the rip-off interval prices; with £2 for cokes as well as £10 programmes, they had a point . The green tea was a bargain, though.

The whole Dome ambience, with dozens of food outlets, a cinema at the top of an escalator and an artifical ski slope so you can watch people falling about, has a buzzy feel. ‘You know, Grandma', said 13 year old Gemma, ‘we could come to the Dome the next time we stay with you, even if we don’t see a show’.

(Oh, and I'm off to Lanzarote for a week, so no more postings for a while)

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