- David Kettle
- 3 August 2017
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).