theatre review
When I was asked to watch a Takarazuka
musical called Passionate Barcelona, I
was initially somewhat rel...
of 1

NagaZasshi_Vol_2.1 (dragged)

Published on: Mar 3, 2016

Transcripts - NagaZasshi_Vol_2.1 (dragged)

  • 1. 19 theatre review When I was asked to watch a Takarazuka musical called Passionate Barcelona, I was initially somewhat reluctant (c’mon, Passionate Barcelona? Really!?). Neverthe- less, I wanted to see for myself what the Ta- karazuka rave was all about. You see, Takarazuka Revue is not your regular kind of theatre. It boasts an all- female cast, with women playing both male and female roles, in a theatre extravaganza reminiscent of early Broadway, Ve- gas show girls, Moulin Rouge and yes, Cher. A warning is necessary at this point: to my fellow the- atre buffs, if you look for subtlety you is, you can stop here. Skip this page, forget about Takarazuka and buy a ticket for Noh instead. Ta- karazuka leaves nothing to the imagination. From lavish cos- tumes, elaborate settings and clichéd story plots, Takarazuka celebrates, with much relish and fanfare, an excess of everything. cheesy romance story set in Spain. You know the drill: girl meets boy, boy meets girl, they fall in love despite parental disapproval and blah, blah, blah. As if things could not get any worse, the overused plot was embel- lished with cringe-worthy stage lines and melodramatic acting, accompanied with a sordid combination of horrid stage direc- tions, messy lighting, and tacky costumes (one of which clearly reminded me of a gi- gantic moving wedding cake). But wait: it gets better. The performance took a surprising turn in the second half. The Spanish romance story was abandoned altogether, and exploded instead into a psy- chedelic montage of disco lights, blinding glitter and feathers galore, all set in the backdrop of… Rio de Janeiro! Do not ask me what happened to Barcelona. I don’t know. Then came a rapid suc- cession of random song and dance scenes, none of which had any relation to the main plot or to each other whatsoever. A Mardi Gras dance number rolled swiftly into “Mamma Mia!” before cutting abruptly into an abstract modern dance involving wounded soldiers and mysterious phantom beings. I soccer, a diamond necklace heist and feathers. Yes, lots of feathers. It was like Broadway on LSD. So, after two and a half hours, I staggered out of the theatre, mind reeling from the after- shocks of sensory overload. As I sat, wide- eyed and speechless, my eyes caught sight of the promotional pamphlets for Takarazuka’s upcoming musical, Heat on Beat! I scoffed at it, but grabbed one and made a mental note of the dates. Even with its brazen tackiness, Takarazuka can be so ridiculously addictive. TAKARAZUKA Genevieve Seah

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