Sakura Sayer (FringeTIX)
Theatre Group GUMBO @ Holden Street Theatres (The Studio)
9:30pm, Mon 12 Mar 2007
Right – nothing I could write could describe the content of this show as well as GUMBO’s own words:
“SAKURA SAYER” brings to the fore issues of the suffering hearts created by our modern societies. It explores the ideas of being a “nerd”, “socially withdrawn” or brainwashed in a “new religion”. It dares you to question “what true happiness is for you?”
Central is the ”SAKURA Company”, this organisation exists in GUMBO’s bizarre world where the characters are their best and elite. Shogun, the survivor of “Seven Samurai”, Princess, the daughter of Princess Dianna and Kennedy Jr., Maestro, the great great great great grand son of Mozart, and Doctor, the cloned Einstein. They train hard each day to be the “perfect human beings” and to change this, our world, into a happy Utopia. But, one day, they opened the strictly forbidden door. What is the hidden truth behind the door!?
That’s pretty much the story of Sakura Sayer – very much a parody of a religious cult coupled with the pursuit of love and happiness. But plot and intent is irrelevant here; it’s the presentation that drives this show forwards, with bold costumes and props, exaggerated performances, and a tongue firmly ensconced in cheek. GUMBO’s style feels a bit like the British alternative comedy movement of the early-to-mid 80’s – there’s a lot of shouting, a lot of flamboyant movements, and every so often there’s an off-the-wall moment… “look out everyone – nuclear war!”
The “Human Checks” of the crowd lead to some feverish yelling and swooning, and a superbly original re-enactment of Twin Towers attack which had the (near-packed) audience burbling with nervous laughter. And the performance is closed with a bizarre group-suckle of a many-breasted… mutant-beast-thing. Normally, you’d be muttering variations of “WTF?” under your breath, but it somehow seems to fit within the world of Sakura Sayer.
This was an utterly fascinating experience – not a moment passed when a fragment of over-enunciated (and, quite possibly, exaggerated) Japlish left you floundering for sensible context or meaning, only to be followed up with Japanese slapstick and physical humour. Enthusiasm is infectious, and the Medicine Woman would have to be the cutest girl I’ve seen in aaaaages. All bases covered, and grinning from ear-to-ear? Oh yes please.
(And there was another diamond moment… I’m leaving the theatre, grinning like a loon. A hand shoots out from the second row – “Pete!” I turn to face the callee with a hearty “Hi!”, but then peer at the person through the dimness – but there’s no recognition. “Ummm… who are you?” I blurt. She leans forward – “Astrid” she whispers.
Grinning like a loon, I tell you :)