SIRO-A in London

Posted on October 14, 2014 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

SIRO-A

 

I remember seeing the promotional poster for the Japanese multimedia theatrical performance group SIRO-A in London last year, and it triggered my interest to see the show. But as always, with so much happening in this city, it is easy to miss events even if you made a mental note of it.

Thankfully, and to my pleasant surprise, I was invited to the preview of the show this year, their third successive year in London. I have heard a lot of praises for the award-winning group ( it won Mervyn Stutter’s ‘Spirit Of The Fringe’ award at the Edinburgh Festival in 2011) prior to the show, but I didn't want to set my expectation too high in case of disappointment. Now I can honestly say that the group deserves all the praises and I enjoyed the show immensely!

 

SIRO-A siro-a

 

Often described as Japan’s answer to the Blue Man Group, SIRO-A composed of 6 male members is unlike anything that I have seen before. The name itself reveals something interesting, aside from 'white/colourless' (hence, they all perform with white faces), it also means 'Belong to no group, impossible to be define as anybody'. The show fuses stunning digital-generated visual effects with choreographed mime, dance, and electro music.

It is hard to write a review on this show because there is so much packed in the hour-long show. Normally, I don't like to use the term 'mind-blowing', but in this case, it is quite fitting since the show stimulates the audience's sensory system in every way. If I have to dissect the show for this review, I would categorise into three parts: visual effects, sound & light and performance & dance.

Perhaps it is due to my design background, what stands out for me most is the show's strong and bold use of graphical visuals. The Japanese have always been known for their excellent graphic design and innovative digital graphics, and this show demonstrate it perfectly. My favourite section is the group's homage to the cinema when the performance is acted out in accordance to the bold typography that appears on the screen behind. It is humourous, clever and highly creative.

 

 

Admittedly, I am not that into techno music ( though I did listen to YMO when I was younger and was a big fan of Ryuichi Sakamoto), but the music here works well with the digital graphics and the overall tone of the show. It is dynamic, upbeat, and accompanied by lots of flashing lights, so it makes you feel like you are inside a club except that you are not permitted to stand up and dance.

If we remove all the show's cool technology, we are left with the core, which is the performance itself. And I am glad to say that the four front performers (with two at the back in charge of video and music) are superb, they are well-synchronised, skillful and precise (this is crucial when they have to interact with the images behind them). But best of all, the audience can feel their energy and playfulness, which is extremely infectious. And the last section involves the audience's participation, which makes the show more interactive and engaging.

 

 

The show is suitable for all ages, it is cool, fun, entertaining and stimulating. It is not a show that requires intellectual debate, so you just have to go and enjoy the ride. My only complaint is more to do with the venue, because I think it needs to be performed in a more spacious and contemporary setting. The traditional setting with narrow velvet red seats in a dark basement is more suited for cabarets or musicals, but not a technodelic show like this. I hope that the organiser will change the venue to a more suitable one next year, perhaps they can consider the legendary Ministry of Sound?

 

SIRO-A will run until 11th Jan 2015 at Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Place, London, WC2H 7BX.


This post was posted in London, Anything Japanese, Theatre & performance art and was tagged with London, theatre, SIRO-A

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