I decided to watch Little Boy for two reasons. One, I find the Japanese culture fascinating, aided by my experience reading Murakami and Ozeki. And two, it was shortlisted for the Asian Arts Award last year. Seemed compelling reasons enough.
However, Yuuya Ishizone’s solo show is a total let-down. The script has clearly been translated from Japanese, but badly. Ishizone’s English isn’t great and he has a very strong accent, which makes most of the monologue incomprehensible.
He is a decent actor, judging by the gamut of emotions he displays, but this talent is wasted as I have no idea what is going on with the plot. Yes, there seems to be a larger reference to Hiroshima – the words ‘mushroom cloud’ lead me to it – but again, I don’t know how that fits in.
Two Fringes ago, I went to see a show in a foreign language, where a handy screen at the top of the stage delivered English subtitles. That was great. It would have been much better if this show had been performed in the same way, with subtitles in the original Japanese, rather than in a translation I found impossible to understand.
This production is just not ready to be performed in English – the script, the accent, the delivery all need a lot of work before it is Fringe-worthy.