THE MONGOL KHAN – SHUT DOWN IN CHINA, NOW AT THE LONDON COLISEUM!
Pre-dating Genghis Khan and set in the ancient realm of Mongolia, a nation sandwiched between two superpowers – China and Russia. The Mongol Khan is a tale of two babies switched at birth with the intent to manipulate the royal bloodline. The offspring in question are born from Queens Tsetser (the first and ‘Great Queen of Khan) and Queen Gergel (the legitimate Queen of Khan) and supposedly fathered by Lord Archug Khan.
Archug Khan (played by Mongolian actor Erdenebileg Ganbold, a huge star in his native country) believes both are his sons and sets about to decide which will be his successor. Prince Khuchir is the true descendent but the other baby (Achir) is in fact the son of Egereg, the Chancellor and an estranged companion of Lord Khan!
Egereg fails to persuade an un-informed Lord Khan that he should choose Achir as his successor. So, as an attempt to put his own son in the line to the throne, the corrupt Chancellor Egereg convinces a relunctant Queen Tsetser to switch the babies. I will not give away the ending but battle, humour, drama and tragedy prevails.
The choreography is amazing with dancing, music and acrobatics. Notable was a sexy scene delivered by dancers in an artistic and expressionate form.. possibly putting a British audience in a somewhat uncomfortable state! Having said that I thought it was brave and fairly humourous. At times the amasse of 70 odd performers collectively communicate the consciousness of whichever character takes the stage – a creative way to speak to the audience.
This captivating production emmerses viewers into the Hunnic empire and the extravagant costumes reflect a commitment to be as accurate as one can be of this era.
Naturally I was rooting for the women in the story – clearly im biased as a woman and mother in that regard, but the innocence of the real Khan’s mother – Queen Gergel was where my sympathy lied. I even felt sad for Queen Tsetser, who didn’t have much choice in the matter of switching the babies.
The ending was slightly confusing to me – without giving too much away!
I did come away feeling I had been enlightened to the Mongolian spirit and culture, but asking myself what was the point in the story? Was it that the Mongol Khan felt instinctively that Prince Achir wasn’t his real son, or that blood is actually thicker than water? Or maybe it is just a battle of succession in an empire on the brink of collapse. Corruption, greed and other aspects of the human condition were present and the tragedy/comedy reminded me of Shakespeare, but as with his tragedies, I came away feeling unsatisfied with the conclusion. Confusion aside – I enjoyed The Mongol Khan immensely and the performance of the actors and dancers was nothing less than sensational, possibly let down by the narrative.. but maybe that was just me hoping for a happy ending! I would see it again if I could!
Playing at The London Coliseum for a limited time.