A Night At The Kabuki ★★★★★ Sadler's Wells Theatre | September 22 - 24, 2022


A Night At The Kabuki is a night like no other! This is an evening that draws on amazingly disparate sources to create an eye-popping spectacle that will leave you laughing, slightly bewildered and utterly entranced. Who would have thought to bring together Kabuki and the feuding samurai clans of the Minamoto and Taira, with an updated version of Romeo and Juliet plus the music of Queen? Playwright and director Hideki Noda has whipped up an amazing creation, and in some unfathomable way it all works. This is a mind-boggling entertainment that owes as much to the Marx Brothers as it does to William Shakespeare. Inspired by the Queen album, A Night At The Opera, and also by the film of the same name, this extravaganza is a fascinating commentary on the relationship between the "high art" of two very different cultures as opposed to the appeal of popular entertainment. We have the current "high art" fad for meta stories mixed with good old crowd-pleasing spectacle and some great gags. There is an older Romeo and Juliet who comment on, and interfere in, the lives of their younger counterparts, while there is also a character called Mercury (Mercutio) who, like the credit card, has a sibling called Platinum. The staging is original and always unexpected while the pace never lets up, and the choreography is masterful. Hideki Noda is absolutely hilarious as Juliet's nurse, and Takako Matsu and Suzu Hirose, as the two Juliets, play off beautifully against their respective Romeos, Takaya Kamikawa and Jun Shison. Indeed, all of the cast are to be commended for their contribution to this brilliantly inspired pastiche. Here's a show that draws on many muses, and it delivers its thought-provoking fun in extremely large doses.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Alex Brenner.

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