Japan is a dream for theatre lovers. With its unique and rich history of music, film, performance styles and dance, one is truly spoilt for choice when tasked with selecting just one genre to explore during your time in the country.
Luckily, however, the team at Meijiza Theatre in Tokyo have crafted an incredible theatrical extravaganza that solves this problem. “Sakura – Japan in the Box” is a new, jaw-dropping stage spectacle that somehow manages to merge traditional art forms such as Kabuki and Nihon Buyo with New Age street dance, anime and even acrobatics, all without compromising on the depth and value of the sweet story that binds the show together. I was riveted for the full running time of 70 minutes, and could easily have sat through more. This is a show that deserves international attention.
The performance begins when you arrive at the theatre. Allow yourself some time to take in the building’s beautiful high ceilings and flowing chandeliers. Browse the goods and snacks at the vendors, and pick up a traditional Japanese treat or local whiskey to enjoy in the lobby or between performances. Then let one of the courteous and welcoming ushers guide you to your seat in the regal auditorium.
Perhaps you, like me, speak no Japanese, and are daunted by the thought of enduring a theatrical performance in a language you have no grasp of. If this is the case, you really have nothing to fear. Not only is this show performed in such a way that language is overlooked, but the producers have also created an incredible app that you can download for free prior to the show to help you through the performance. During songs, for example, the lyrics flash up on to your screen in your language of choice, meaning that nothing need be lost in translation.
I doubt, however, that you will want to peel your eyes away from the stage in order to look at your phone. Every second is jam packed with wonders. The costumes are magnificent, the dancing is precise and perfect, and the music is a delightful balance between traditional and new. Video is also incorporated throughout, and mesmerizing images are projected onto the stage during various points of the show. There is even a fun section that involves audience involvement; and I won’t give away the spectacle waiting for you at the show's finale!
I was truly blown away by the professionalism of this show. It is slick, mesmerizing and totally exhilarating. This is the future of Japanese entertainment. Make sure you book your ticket today – the show runs until March 2017, but my guess is that once word gets out about how fantastic it is, seats will be hard to come by.