The Peasant Prince (Mao’s Last Dancer) theatre review



Monkey Baa Theatre Company brings the children’s version of Li Cunxin’s iconic autobiography, Mao’s Last Dancer to the stage.

Li, a 10-year old peasant boy is plucked from his village in rural China and sent to a ballet academy in the big city. He leaves everything, including his family. Over years of gruelling training, this boy transforms from an impoverished peasant to an international dance star.  Li’s courage, resilience and unwavering hope for a better life transforms him to be the best person he can possibly be.


The audience on opening night was captivated by this very personal story and strong performance from an outstanding ensemble cast – Jonathan Chan, Jenevieve Chang, Edric Hong & John Gomez Goodway. Together they played multiple roles. When Jenevieve Chang played the tough Chinese dance teacher, a child from the audience yelled, “You’re such a meanie.” Such a brilliant, strong performance provoking a crowd reaction. She also played the loving mother of Li convincingly. John Gomez Goodway played Li Cunxin, capturing his sensitivity in movement and playful, joyful demeanour brilliantly. Edric Hong got the audience laughing whenever he played Li’s brother and Jonathan Chan played Li’s proud father and skilfully transformed to the tough Chinese authority. An exceptional 20th century fairy tale performance.

I particularly loved the meticulous stage direction, thanks to the director Tim McGarry and the wonderful use of the ever changing screen backdrop which projected shadow animations of each scene – such a clever, creative design by Michael Hankin.


After their opening performance, Li spoke how he was proud that Monkey Baa portrayed his story successfully. A true testament to the outstanding performance from the cast. The Peasant Prince is suitable for the whole family to see. (6+)  9/10

Box Office – 02 8624 9341 ext 1

Ticket Prices

Adult $29.00 per ticket
Child $29.00 per ticket
Family of 4 $104.00
Family of 5 $125.00
Groups 10+ $25.00 per ticket


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Director – Tim McGarry

Writers – Eva Di Cesare, Sandra Eldridge & Tim McGarry

Designer – Michael Hankin

Movement Director – Danielle Micich (courtesy of Force Majeure)

Lighting Design – Sian James-Holland

Composer – Daryl Wallis

Script Consultant – Li Cunxin

Dramaturge – Camilla Ah Kin



John Gomez Goodway – Li Cunxin

Jenevieve Chang – Niang / others

Jonathan Chan – Dia / others

Edric Hong – Cunfar / others



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