It’s unusual for a performance to begin with a lengthy warning, but this show was highly unusual throughout. As we all sat in our blue plastic rain ponchos, listening to the only English speaking cast member explain the water and tofu which was about to be chucked at us we still had no real idea what was about to hit us.
The show was brought to us at the Barbican from Tokyo by LIFT 2016. It brings you the experience of the dance routines created and performed by wotagei superfans. It exaggerates this subculture to an extreme level of intensity by using costumes, projections, leeks, glowsticks and hundreds of props.
I also have no real way to communicate how much of a full body experience this was, without being able to chuck water at you through the computer screen. I’ll try my best with a few words and the videos I was able to take in between protecting my phone from the spray.
After a word from the show’s creator, Toco Nikaido, dressed in a crown, the troupe of 25 singers and dancers came out in rainbow costumes. Over the next 45 minutes they pelted us with in water, seaweed as well as confetti and glitter whilst dancing between the cramped rows of the audience.
Non stop singing and dancing with a backdrop of animated screens was a complete onslaught to the senses. There were then costume changes which involved throwing their rainbow mini skirts into the crowd and dressing themselves in flashing lights. We spent the whole show not knowing where to look as surprises appeared from every angle.
After screaming for an encore, the group came back and began pulling the audience onto the stage. They continued their dance routines stood throughout the seats.
We left the trashed auditorium, soaking wet, peeling the seaweed and newspaper off ourselves. Thinking it was all over, we were ambushed again by the group of unstoppable performers, all shouting for us to take selfies.
Throughout the show we balanced on a precipice between the excitement and entertainment of the performance surrounding us and the discomfort and shock factor of a bucket of water in the face.
Thanks Toco Nikaido, LIFT and Barbican for a wonderfully absurd evening