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October 6, 2008 | by  | in Theatre |
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Journey to the west

The THEA 324 production of Journey to the West “may not be for everyone,” but one must admire the rhythmic use of time, space and movement used by the cast. Journey to the West is based on the classic Chinese novel Xi You Ji which blends together traditional Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism. The story follows an insolent monkey’s spiritual redemption (played by Karin Reinholt) through assisting a monk, Tripataka Tang (played by Challen Wilson) on a quest for sacred scriptures. “It all sounds a little silly,” you might say, but I persevered and got over my initial scepticism.

The set design and construction was a small play in itself. The backdrop of the first act was created through light, shapes and an overhead projector which was simple but highly effective. I was thoroughly impressed by the swift changes and general fluidity.

The standout performance was clearly Monkey (Karin Reinholt) who was bursting with energy and actually moved remarkably like a Monkey. Her energy and enthusiasm were something the rest of the cast lacked during the beginning of the play. This stunted the play’s progression a tad but by the end of the first act the rest of the cast had risen to the challenge. Ensemble actors Shane Bolton and Jono Griffith managed to frequently steal the show despite their small roles.

If I was to be pedantic I might say that the cast’s movement and acting were a tad unpolished in places but I still thoroughly enjoyed the performance. The actors were amusing, charismatic and generally graceful and strong.

Overall Journey to the West is a unique and enjoyable piece of theatre, and by the obvious talent of the cast I have no doubt that they will do well.

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