About the same time that McIntyre hit the big time with his trademark trivial humour, comedian, playwright and manga artist Kentarō Kobayashi was developing his brand of the same gags in Japan: pets that refuse to play ball, Amazon order flat-packs, the struggle to catch your good side on camera are all part and parcel of the humour.
Only in Kobayashi’s case, stand-up comedy is traded in for a tightly orchestrated one-man performance, complete with original music and his own intricate animations. He’s had a fan base in Japan since 2005 and played to sold out audiences in both Paris and London in 2015 - he's now back in the UK for an exclusive limited run at Notting Hill’s Print Room at the Coronet.
Translated from Japanese, ‘Potsunen’ means to be completely solitary. Mr Potsunen gives us a glimpse of life lived in the lonely world of one man and his daily routine. Simple tasks are blown ludicrously out of proportion, then accompanied by an impressive (as well as expressive) range of exasperated grunts from Kobayashi. The result is as touching as it is funny.
Mimed skits are blended seamlessly with the comedian’s masterful illustrations - Kobayashi is an art school graduate and that shows. Short pieces of text are projected between sketches, which manage in very few words to be, perhaps, the wittiest aspect of the production. There’s a proverbial strain in these which brings to Potsunen a wisdom unanticipated.
None of this would be anything were it not executed to perfection. It's abundantly clear that sequences have been choreographed and then rehearsed within an inch of their life – by Kobayashi’s tech team as well as himself. Special mention is due here to Daisuke Minami, the only other performer who makes it onstage with Kobayashi. Recruited as puppeteer of an assortment of props, Minami’s timing is as flawless as his partner’s. In fact, no member of the Potsunen team ever falters and, given the complexity of their show, that’s quite a feat.
It might be
overlong in places, but what Mr Potsunen lacks
in pacing it makes up for in originality: this could just be the most imaginative production on in London at the moment.
|What||Review of Mr Potsunen’s Peculiar Slice of Life|
|Where||The Coronet Theatre, Print Room, 103 Notting Hill Gate, London, W11 3LB | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Notting Hill Gate (underground)|
05 Jul 17 – 08 Jul 17, Thurs & Fri 19:30, Sat 17:00
|Website||Click here to book tickets|