Little Boy (2 stars)

This article is from 2017

Good With Maps

Meditation on love and destruction marred by linguistic incomprehensibilty

It's never a good sign when you emerge from a show unsure of what it is you've just seen. Not, in the case of Little Boy from Japan's My Complex theatre company, because of theatrical ambition, nor intellectual complexity, but because of linguistic incomprehensibility. Despite the energetic, focused performance from solo actor Yuuya Ishizone (who also wrote the show), his heavy accent and unconvincing English phrasing make a lot of what he says downright unintelligible – not helped by a sometimes bizarrely unidiomatic translation of a text that was presumably originally written in Japanese.

You end up forced to piece together the story from fragments of Ishizone's text, which jars with the elegance of the show's design. What emerges, however, is the story of two brothers, and of a scientist father so successful that virtually a whole town is built around his research. The twist in the show's tail is effective, and casts earlier material in a whole new light, but it can't make up for the earlier lack of clarity.

There's definite potential here for a touching, quietly horrifying meditation on love and destruction, but Little Boy needs a lot more work on its delivery if it's to be successful.

C royale, until 28 Aug (not 15), 4pm, £8.50–£10.50 (£6.50–£8.50).

Little Boy

  • 2 stars

My Complex (Japan) 'Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.' So said my father. At the farewell address, I am thinking of him, the truth, and a man who is to destroy the world. All I know is the truth lies in myself. Little Boy explores what the innocence means. World premiere, new writing from Japan. There is a…