Written and Directed by: popbox
Reviewer: Jo Beggs
Josh Cannon, Tom Morris and Georgie Sykes (popbox) have all done the gap year Asia trail. They’ve carted their backpacks across the world, Instgramming the hell out of everything and storing away some of the quirkiest moments for their experimental show Love Letters To Asia. It’s a perfect fringe offering, ideally suited to the tiny, sweaty studio space upstairs at the King’s Arms where we’re transported to a Hong Kong karaoke bar where all of humanity comes to let off a bit of steam.
Three performers on a cluttered set in a too-small space, with an obliterated fourth wall and a frantic sense of immediacy, Love Letters To Asia is half an hour of playful mayhem. With their stories, songs, lists of hashtags, dancing, a few hat changes and lots of running about, popbox are drawing on some well-worn ideas (think early Forced Entertainment or Bryony Kimmings) but they deliver it with a fresh, millennial edge that draws heavily on pop culture and the digital landscape that makes the world so much smaller.
Love Letters To Asia is a successful mix of the personal and universal. popbox throw in a few sympathetic stereotypes, reveal their own shortcomings and relive some intimate moments. There’s a real sense of nostalgia about the piece that works surprisingly well amid all the madness.
The show could easily take another ten minutes or so, but it does work as a quick hit of the surreal, especially when coupled with another production in the venue as part of the Greater Manchester Fringe (tonight’s War Stories makes for an unlikely but actually rather successful pairing).
Runs until 23 July 2016 | Image: Contributed