Monkey Magic Live On Stage

Demons are Human Too Melbourne Fringe Festival 2008 Bar Open, Saturday 4th October 2008

I know a lot of the shows at the Fringe are really doing a trial run for next year's comedy festival, but I wanted to see this one in case it did not come back. I haven't been to see a show at Bar Open before, but next time I hope they block off the stairs to stop people coming up before the show as 100 people cannot fit in a space meant for only 20. I also turned up at 8pm and still couldn't get a seat down the front as everyone barged in. The doors didn't open until half an hour after they said they would either.

I hadn't expected a full band to be included in the line-up. You would have needed a can-opener to get more people in the room and even the sound and lighting techs were having trouble with the cast members bumping into them during the show.

I thought the band was really great and played all the tunes from the right part of the episode. It would be even better if they could play some funky tunes when people are finding their seat, but maybe next time. They even got to be in the show at one point, which was one of the highlights of the show.

There are tons of different versions of Journey to the West, but the most well known in Australia is the 70s Japanese TV version. This is due to the characters, costumes, comedy and dubbing and the fact it was repeated over and over in those countries. For the TV nerds in the audience, the exact episode it is based on is "S1E6 - Even Monsters Can be People" there are a couple of changes, but it is mostly the same as the TV show.

The cast was surprising as the original TV series was a very male-oriented affair. Tripitaka was very uptight as you would expect, Sandy was the laid-back hippy and Pigsy was very cheeky. I thought Monkey was a bit underplayed thought, although that is only my opinion. Monkey is well known for pissing on the Buddha's fingers and trash-talking the gods so he should be brash and loud.

The three demons were also well played. The yellow demon seems to have fallen through a wormhole from a Sissies and Sluts production as they tended to dominate the proceedings. One in, all in next time as it makes the production a bit lopsided and after all the trouble that has been gone to with the costumes (by Rose Chong), props, special effects and music it seems a shame.

Hopefully this show can kick on and turn up at the comedy festival next year. It would be great to have on at one of the small rooms at Trades Hall and I am sure it will get lots of people in to see it.

Rating: 7/10