I went to see a dress run of TIP’s spring musical tonight at the Asakusa Kumin Center Hall.
I am not the biggest fan of musicals, but after seeing the run, I can tell you with confidence that if you are, you will definitely enjoy it. (If not, you will almost definitely enjoy it.) I’ll be honest and say that some of the numbers are a little long for my taste, but that’s a script problem, and my problem, because I’m impatient with old-school Broadway musicals. On the whole, though, director Jon Reimer has delivered on his promise of taking the limited resources available to a Tokyo show, in both material and manpower, and turning them into something that looks like it will be worth the price of admission.
The show is tighter than Queen Victoria. In a city where we’re used to seeing incredible sloppiness on the amateur stage, transitions that leave the audience sitting in the dark, and songs boringly delivered as if the singer daren’t sing and move at the same time, this is a breath of fresh air.
I hope that it doesn’t sound like I’m damning with faint praise, but keep in mind that this isn’t a review, and what I saw tonight was a run-through! Most other amateur shows would be a disaster at this stage, but Pippin is clear. I could nit-pick further about tiny things I thought were weak, minor directorial and casting decisions, for instance… but what’s important is that these would be nit-picks, and they do not take away from the fact that this is a good, solid show.
Jon (may I call him Jon?), has a clear point of view for the show and has definitely communicated to his troops on the ground, both onstage and backstage. The dancing is SOLID. The singing is SOLID (thanks to Akiko Otao, I imagine, who I worked with this past summer on YTG’s Beggar’s Opera) I’m really looking forward to seeing this show and, if you’re reading this in Tokyo or Yokohama, SO SHOULD YOU!
You can get tickets at http://tokyoplayers.org (facebook may block this link, so click through to my blog at http://squeeze-box.ca if you’re reading it there). If you can organize a group of ten people to all come on the same night, and book under one name, you can enjoy a significant discount.
If you are skint, then save your money and volunteer to work two shifts on front-of-house (that’s box office and ushering), and you can see the show for free. But hurry on this… my thought is that those positions will fill up quickly on this production.
If you have any interest in seeing future (good) musicals in English, in Japan, produced locally, you shouldn’t see this show… no, you MUST see this show. Vote with your yen, people! Do it now! Jon Reimer for President!