Reviewer: Christopher Owen
Siro-A is billed as Japan’s answer to the Blue Man Group; essentially a mime act with painted faces (in this instance, white), driven with a pounding musical score and with plenty of audience interaction and participation.
Siro-A feels more of an art instillation at times. With seemingly un ending projection designs, a techno heavy soundtrack which balances the visual creativeness well, video and lights form an ever changing landscape which four performers of the six (two are always present at the rear of the stage, one video and one music designers) interact with in many different ways.
In some respects this is like a technological sketch show or an extended music video – the kind of thing one would expect to find featured in a Daft Punk video, or featured at Adam Buxton’s Bug from a YouTube clip. With each ‘scene’ having a different theme; be it making music, to something as simple as the word ‘box’, each segment is fun, and utilises every performers different characteristics enough that you learn to know what to expect when each of the individuals take to the stage. Two particular highlights are the ‘Ball’ segment, where a white screen is backlit and through clever shadow puppetry and projection, an elaborate game of Catch is created. The second, being the ‘T Shirt Man’ section. Standing still, one of the performers is lit by the shape of a t shirt, miming taking it off; he interacts with the different logos that appear. The whole story is then spun around, and a huge t shirt is projected onto the screen and by using his body, the performer must recreate some of those logos in shadow form.
While the high paced, frantic parts of Siro-A are pleasing, like a musicalized version of Tron, the show feels somewhat laboured during the audience interaction and some of the more dance orientated sections. Often, the audience participation feels a bit ‘token’ and takes up quite a bit of time for little pay off, and unfortunately the standard of the dance is much lower than the rest of the show. The energy and pace of the music and slickly directed and precisely executed scenes are what drive the show forward, so having to stop and sit in silence feels out of place. There are however moments of genius that involve the audience, including a version of We Will Rock You that is different to anything you’ve seen before.
Suitable for the whole family, it is a fun alternative to other West End offerings this autumn. The show fits nicely into the Leicester Square Theatre and at a neat 80 minutes including a 10 minute interval, Siro-A is a fun, inventive and impressive techno-delight.