Marzo – Dewey Dell: The Pit, Barbican Centre, London, 25 January 2017

Manga Italiana

Puffing hell, Marzo's strange.

Puffing hell, Marzo’s strange

Well, this is a weird show. At its heart it’s a simple boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, girl fancies someone else kind of affair. Only the protagonists are aliens, superheroes and an ageing  Samurai warrior with a gammy leg. Oh, and a bunch of inflatable marshmallow men.

Dewey Dell may be an Italian company but all the ingredients of Marzo are Japanese. In collaboration with visual artist Yuichi Yokoyama and theatre director Kuro Tanino, the end result is a Manga inspired blitz of colour and noise that’s incredibly odd

Although it’s part of the London International Mime Festival Marzo is basically a dance piece and while the choreography is unlikely to take your breath away, its jerky otherworldliness is always interesting. The characterisations are less convincing; the three lead roles are very superficial in their presentation which, because they’re deliberately cartoonish, isn’t a problem in the wam-bam-thankyou-ma’am fight scenes, for example. However, as the piece develops it tries to throw some emotional pathos into the plight of the spurned Samurai warrior but the characters don’t have the tools to exploit it.

Marzo is best when it’s being self-consciously bizarre, and that’s down in no small part to the fabulous costumes. The three marshmallow men are extraordinary – I’m not sure why they’re there but they’re brilliant. Because of the spaciousness of their outfits the material reacts long after the body has moved which creates some startling strobe-like effects and a true sense of an alien environment.

I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like this before. It’s inventive, funny and disorientating but also warm and respectful of its heritage. I like a show that’s entertained me, even if I don’t quite understand why it has.

Part of the London International Mime Festival, Marzo continues at The Pit in London’s Barbican Centre until 28 January 2017. Tickets are available on the Barbican website.

Gerard Davis

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