Monday, July 09, 2007


We went to Manchester at the weekend to see Monkey (the opera by Damon Albarn, Jamie Hewlett, and Chen Shi-zheng). It was fabulous. The sets and costumes were in a graphic novel style; the music was a blend of east and west; and the choreography was Chinese, with juggling and dance and martial arts. The story is based on a 16th century novel, Journey to the West, about the journey to fetch the Buddhist scriptures from India. My favourite scene was when Monkey goes under the sea - they managed to make it look as though the stage was underwater by use of screens and lighting. But it was all beautiful.

On the way there we had a lovely walk in the Peak District, and on the way back we visited Moreton Hall, where Charles II stayed when he was fleeing from the Battle of Worcester (after he had stayed at Boscobel House). On both occasions he hid in a priest-hole. Moreton Hall has a Catholic chapel in the attic. It was very atmospheric.

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