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Harajuku Girls anyone?

Harajuku Girls anyone?

Isn’t life weird?

No plays about constructed realities for ages – and then two come along at once. The Nether suggests that the interweb will offer a future world where virtual reality will satisfy needs, however depraved and sordid, without having to leave the house.

And Harajuku Girls, currently at The Finborough Theatre, reminds us that there have always been places in the real world where man (mostly man!) can sidle off and satisfy any analogue fantasy.

We meet three young girls in Japan on their last day of school. Whether grand or humble, we see their future hopes and aspirations (why does someone always want to go to drama school against their parents wishes?). Yet circumstances dictate that our heroines, through the stepping stone of cosplay (ie dressing up and parading) in trendy Harajuku district will all end up elsewhere in a ‘House of Fantasy’ (The House of Red Leaves), clad in outfits demanded to satisfy the needs of customers who crave to escape the tedium of their life’s conventions by the hour.

There are a heck of a lot of scene changes in this show – seemingly rather more than dialogue –¬† which unfortunately¬† interrupted the flow. Nice then to see Elizabeth Tan remain in character for her prop shifting duties – it helped keep things more cohesive. Haruka Abe has one of those wonderful voices that seems older and wiser than the body producing it, and any late teen/early twenties still living at home will identify with the moving (not the props this time!) scenes with her parents, played by Meg Kabota and Nomo Gakuji. Kunjue Li adds an extra sparkle with her comic timing.

Anyway, there’s lots of dressing up and undressing and the girls service various client fantasies while pretty much failing to achieve their own. I guess there’s a moral in there somewhere.

That there Japan sure is a curious place.

But then, where isn’t?



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