Fringe Review: Crying Cherry

I beseech you: go see this show.

If you asked me if I’d like to spend my Saturday evening in a hot subterranean theatre, watching two men in tight polyester gym suits sweat profusely while they impersonate fifth century Asian warriors with a series of homemade props, my answer would be an unequivocal no. But that was before I’d seen this frenetic, pitch perfect duo from Amsterdam, who do more with a banana and a gymnastics mat in one hour than some Broadway musicals do with a lavish set in three. I beseech you: go see this show. Bring your girlfriend, your boss, your mother-in-law, or your weird uncle: if they don’t delight in these hilarious yet utterly serious antics, you should probably end your association with them anyway.

In this truly innovative show, versatile performers Ian and Maarten turn the Western stereotype of the “funny Asian” on its head—and, for that matter, on its feet, stomach, and rear end. Both actors employ an eclectic array of performance styles, from beatboxing, martial arts, throat singing, and mime to embody classic stereotypes of geisha, samurai, Zen master and Japanimation hero. It’s a testament to their strong choreography and clown work that these types become fully and vulnerably human. At once slapstick and utterly moving, the two seethe with the full spectrum of human emotion: terror, elation, lust, and hatred. Spoken almost entirely in faux-Japanese gibberish, the show’s visceral effect on the audience reaches an apex when an earnest warrior battles a snorting Godzilla-esque dragon who literally rips his heart out. Come for the tremendous risk-taking, stay for the generosity: these guys may be dragon-slaying samurais, but they bravely wear their hearts on their polyester sleeves. 

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