The Mongol Khan creates a magical atmosphere with a mesmerising performance of over fifty performers, moving in complete synchronisation. As a showcase of Mongolian culture with traditional costume, music, dance and story, the show stands apart as being a visual treat and sweeps the audience away by its strength. Brought to the West End for the very first time, The Mongol Khan provides British audiences with the chance to enter this bright new world.
Directed by Hero Baatar, the ensemble becomes a wonderful extension of the characters and elevating the story. Utilising precise movement, the dancers become a physical representation of internal conflicting emotions, thought processes and the impacts of relationships with other characters. This was done extremely well and it spoke volumes of the community spirit involved in the show. Varying from slow motion movements and exaggerated actions and repetitions, this was effective in adding a layer to the story.
Lighting, designed by Andrew Ellis and Mike Robertson, not only provided some incredible visuals, but also aids the story-telling process by using varying colours to help differentiate parallel narratives at once. Creating a richly divine environment, particularly with the use of a rising crescent and full moon, the lighting design is brilliant. Particularly in the second act, there's a moment where the audience are engulfed in a multitude of subtle colours, immersing us into this rich world. The music (Birvaa Myagmar and Odbayar Battogtokh) is on epic proportions. Using a blend of traditional Mongolian music and instruments and Western fusions, the music is instantly familiar and yet unknown. Music helps drive the plot forward, particularly in the first act where the story pacing is a little slow, and is fitting for the emperor of a kingdom.
The staging (Ganzorig Dangaa) was partially tilted at the back, creating the illusion that every element was level. Allowing for better visibility for the audience, it also created a depth which worked particularly well during the final war scene. This also results in the stage feeling larger and almost limitless, and we're transported into the world of Mongol Khan. The costumes (Bold Ochirjantsan and the Torgo Salon team) were breathtaking, particularly during ensemble numbers. During the dance numbers, the costumes flowed on stage, whilst also covering for some particularly magic transitions in the second act. With multiple quick changes, disappearing acts and floating moments, these became some of the show's most beautiful scenes. Carefully designed to showcase varying Mongolian attires and industries, it's truly a feast for the eyes.
The Mongol Khan focuses primarily on the grand spectacles of the graphic novel. Written by the late Lkhagvasuren Bavuu, the show and dialogue are Shakespearian with its dramatic and poetic language, complicated family relationship, power dynamics and a considerable number of character deaths. Featuring ranging themes from corruption, betrayal, and possession, the show relishes in being a tragedy. Unfortunately due to the nature of the show, there is little time for character development and the characters become archetypes. In a bid to evoke emotion, the characters actions are often extreme, but this only alienates the audience further, and ultimately feels disconnected from the characters and the story. Whilst the story telling is clear and concise, it could have been more compelling by fleshing the characters out further. The Mongol Khan is performed in Mongolia, with English subtitles provided to the audience via screens. However this results in missing the action on stage due to the odd placement of these screens, and occasionally the dialogue feels lacklustre, as it attempts to match the passionate performances on stage.
The Mongol Khan is a spectacular visual treat. With grand sets, colour costumes, and its ability to deliver a flawless showcase of culture and tale in two and a half hours, it's an experience that you don't want to miss. The Mongol Khan plays at the London Coliseum until 2nd December. For more tickets and information, you can follow the link here.
AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review