Review - The Mongol Khan - London Coliseum

The Mongol Khan - London Coliseum

The Mongol Khan is an epic production that encompasses the entire stage of the iconic London Coliseum. As I share my perspective, it's important to note that I have not read deeply into the extensive programme, presenting a review based on my immediate experience as if I had just strolled in off the street.

The lively scene outside the venue features performers on horseback traversing the road and model-performers at the doorway, ready for a selfie or two. The half-raked, bare stage demands a dual focus — subtitles above for the text and a downward gaze for the action as with operas. Fortunately, the performance is thoughtfully designed, with limited action during critical dialogue moments.

The narrative unfolds with two astonishingly flexible performers embodying foxes, later joined by contortionists. The performance weaves moments of physical theatre and contortion seamlessly into the storyline - this is not a circus show.

The introduction of main characters sets the stage, but it's the ensemble that steals the spotlight. Initially confused about their role — phantoms, servants, or metaphors — I happily settled on viewing them as a chorus. This remarkable chorus work transcends expectations, morphing into the moving blade of a sword or a formidable army, echoing and enhancing the emotions of the leading cast.

Director Hero Baatar deserves acclaim for creating this magnificent production. The standout feature is the collaboration of a vast creative team, puppets, sound, lights, movement, graphics, and choreography. Their collective effort brings Baatar’s vision to life on stage, creating a truly unforgettable experience.

The production is much more than a performance, rather a spectacle, similar to the opening of ceremonies at the Olympics. The incorporation of Mongolian music adds a unique touch. Thanks to the efforts of the Torgo Salon team working on costumes. Their collaboration with historians, craftsmen, and artists results in truly remarkable attire. From a performers perspective, it is a pity that the chorus wear masks the entire time, however this often goes hand in hand with the performance to help the audience see them as a whole rather than individuals.

In conclusion, The Mongol Khan is a mesmerising journey, seamlessly blending tradition with innovation, and showcasing the prowess of a truly remarkable creative team. It is a grand spectacle, leaving the audience in awe of the unique story woven on the stage.

This show was reviewed on the 20th November 2023.  The Mongol Khan runs at London Coliseum until the 2nd December 2023.  Tickets available here: The Mongol Khan | Tickets from £15

***** stars

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Photo credit: Katja Ogrin