Reviewed by Nicole C. Lee
What do you get when you take a classic Shakespearean tale, Romeo and Juliet, and mix it with Japanese interpretive dance and…a toilet? We’re never exactly sure in this 60-minute performance entitled Romeo and Toilet, presented by Kaimaku Pennant race. Written and directed by Yu Murai, six male actors engage in intense, physical actions that never seem to compliment or build a clear plot. While the names Romeo and Juliet are often thrown around, as well as some other lines in both English and Japanese, there is virtually no comprehensible speech or dialogue. In one scene, the characters engage in an intense argument that is little more than muffled speech because each man has a pacifier in his mouth. The performance relies heavily on choreography involving such stunts as imitating horseback riding with only the actors’ bodies. The music is perhaps the best part of the show. Featuring a mix of alternative rock ‘n’ roll and jazz, it is reminiscent of a Quentin Tarantino film or a Japanese cartoon. And while the work put into the show and the physical demand on the performers is laudable, I doubt an even cursory knowledge of Japanese will illuminate this show for you.
FringeNYC 2009: Romeo and Toilet (60 minutes, no intermission)
HERE Arts Center – Mainstage Theater (145 6th Avenue)
Tickets: $15 (www.fringenyc.org)
Performances: concluded August 29
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