To disclaim, I spent a good part of the show watching Yabu, because I was basically there for yomimashou, who's a Yabu fan, and in solidarity (and because he's the person I was most invested in in the show, to be honest), I watched him the majority of the time. But regardless, this is some of my thoughts and impressions upon watching the show.
As with many Johnny's stageplays (in my experience?) the show was largely musical revue, with only small sections that centered around plots. This show was particularly that way; there were maybe five mini distinct plot sections and the rest were mostly song and dance-focused. I was on the 3rd floor (so my seats were cheap, woo), so I got a pretty good view of everything that was happening on the stage, but sadly couldn't really see anything that was happening on the catwalk or underneath me in the house. The theatre did have TV monitors set up so that one could at least be aware that something was happening on the catwalk, but I didn't exactly have a great view.
Shinbashi Enbujo has an amazingly large and deep stage, as I could see from my angle, and one thing that really struck me was how well the stage was used. This is actually something that usually is done really well in Johnny's shows, but seeing it from that angle, I was particularly impressed with the use of the depth of the stage both with the staging of the dancers and performers, but also with the sets, even when it was something minimal like a platform rising out of the stage. The other thing that really impressed me was how well-rehearsed and clean the show was. Tackey is a pro, which I knew going in, but after my main experience being Johnny's World, which is always the hottest of hot messes, and Dream Boys JET in 2013, which… starred Tama-falling-on-his-ass… |D;; I wasn't prepared for how clean and neat Takizawa Kabuki was going to be. I was thoroughly impressed with how much time was clearly spent on rehearsal, and how well everyone knew their exact places and everything. As someone who has spent their entire life doing dance and theatre productions, I really enjoyed how much effort clearly went into this production.
After a lot of musical numbers, the first "story" bit was about Nezumi Kozo, from Tackey's drama "Nezumi, Edo wo Hashiru." Kitayama played the rich "bad guy" from whom Tackey was stealing money to give to the poor, and the majority of the scene was Yabu and Kitayama's other minions chasing Tackey around the set and doing various acrobatic tricks (or in Yabu's case… not doing any acrobatic tricks lol). Yabu was wearing a hakama that was way too short for him, and at one point, Kitayama was like why is it too short?? and Yabu responded D: I grew!! Making fun of the fact that the last time Yabu had been in Takizawa Kabuki he was a small child XD;;; It was also during this part that the guest got to come to the front of the audience if there was a guest; Tackey would bring them up and give them a letter to read. This time, it was Goseki, and the letter asked him to tell some secrets about Kawai, who will be taking Yabu's role while the show is abroad, but I totally forget the secrets he told, oops. There was more chase scenes after that, and then ended in money-shaped confetti falling from the ceiling to show Tackey sharing the money he stole with everyone.
After that there was a weird ghost-themed segment with a bunch of dance numbers (including a zombie pirate dance? And an impressive mask bit) before everyone came onto the stage to do their makeup for the Kabuki part. They showed video clips from previous Takizawa Kabukis, and then did a talk segment with Snow Man while the three leads did their makeup. Kitayama and Yabu did skin-coloured makeup while Tackey did shironuri. They spent a lot of time making fun of Fukka's face being "big" (an unflattering comment in Japan). XD;;
Then the kabuki part started, but it was really just 3 small bits of stories back to back? It was pretty odd, and I was pretty lost. I'm sort of perplexed what the point of doing it like that was, but I don't ask questions of Johnny's. |D; Some highlights of this were Yabu climbing a ladder and looking like he was about to fall off while Kitayama stood, perfectly balanced, on the same ladder, Snow Man telling part of some kabuki story in completely unintelligible English (I mean really unintelligible. I teach English for a living and listen to a lot of heavily accented or just plain wrong English, and I could not understand what they were saying at all XD), and the third segment where Tackey and Kitayama were bird-people and Kitayama had fabulous hair. Yabu was a hunter and killed Tackey's bird girlfriend, and then Tackey got very angry and many feathers went everywhere (including onto the first few rows of the audience XD), and then the whole thing ended in a giant blow-up paper crane and Tackey not getting revenge on Yabu, which seemed kind of lame. The giant blow up crane was so Johnny's, though. XD;
Then came the unnecessarily long intermission. Most plays that I've been to in Japan don't have one, but Johnny's shows almost always do, and so we had like 45 minutes to chill while they cleared all the feathers off the stage and what have you. Then came act two! Act two was, again, mostly musical revue, with the highlight being a segment where Tackey, Kitayama, Yabu, and all of Snow Man wore roller skates. They were wearing ridiculous denim getups with feather headbands, and all around looked hilarious… and then on top of that, the shtick was that all of Snow Man and particularly Yabu kept falling down. |D;; I've seen Snow Man roller skate in other contexts and they've been okay, so some of that must have been played up, but man was Yabu bad at skating. |D;;; Not that this comes as a surprise, but it was pretty hilarious to watch him flail and fall a lot.
Up last was the Yoshitsune scene, which was, thankfully, the one story I knew (because… it's Yoshitsune XD;) beforehand. It was sort of odd because after introducing the characters, they went into a really random battle scene and didn't tell any of the story. It was just… a lot of fighting with the obligatory rain and stuff. There was a lot of knocking over of bamboo trees… |D;; And then after that everyone came out despite still being wet and sang "With Love," and that was the end~
Well, that was probably the dumbest report I've ever written, but there you have it. |D;; That's how much I know about Takizawa Kabuki… absolutely nothing, ahaha. But I really enjoyed it! I hope someone from JUMP is in it again next year, because I'd like to see it again. ♥
In unrelated news, I made a responsible life choice (not) and bought another ticket to Karafuto Ojisan, so I'm heading to Osaka to see it one last time this Saturday! I haven't gotten my ticket yet, but I hope my seat is good!