Craven Monkey

At the end of the show last night, Jordana turned to me and said, “This is one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long, long time.”

You will get what they are advertising. You will get hilarious over-the-top Simian characters, and fantastical story-telling. You will get to laugh and be inside the joke, you will get to be amazed at how ridiculous monkeys are and how fun a theater piece featuring nothing but monkeys can be.

But you won’t be prepared for the fact that what you’re watching is essentially a ballet. What you won’t expect are the epic themes and the incredible mythic creations. This piece is a self-mocking epic poem full of dirty jokes. I mean, it’s funny when your uncle does his monkey face, and it’s even funnier when a group of actors dress up and roll around like monkeys – but when’s the last time you saw a theater piece where an actress flies around the room like a hornet, or the main character is attacked by an eight foot octopus? Honestly, I have to go back to “Seascape” on Broadway to remember the last time my breath was taken away simply by a character’s entrance.

The choreography, fight and otherwise, is meticulous and pitched perfectly, the music is incredible. The entire piece exists in a world before language, so every moment is danced or fought or physicalized, and the company creates something that’s more organic than kabuki but more sublime than mime. There is a narrator, but I almost wonder if they could have done the piece without the narration. It wouldn’t have been as funny, and it might have been twenty minutes longer, but I would have *loved* twenty more minutes of this show.

I’m writing this on stolen time, my freelance work beckons on the other side of my kids’ pantleg-pulling, so I can’t go into the specific incredible work by so many of those involved. I just don’t have the time and it’s killing me. I can only tell you this, when Jordana said it was the best show she’d seen in some time, I turned back to her and said, “I would be so incredibly proud to have produced this. These guys are just fantastic.”

This is their website