Presented by: Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 01 Oct 2015
Japanese culture enthusiasts and novices alike are flocking to Oz Asia’s most colourful offering of the season: Miss Revolutionary Idol Berserker. The Adelaide Festival Centre’s underground Rehearsal Room plays host to this unique show – which is enjoying its Australian premiere.
On Thursday night, the waiting crowd were given ponchos and asked to deposit our shoes and socks into water-safe bags. This fostered a cheerful if somewhat self-conscious environment among the theatre goers, with many audience members indulging in poncho selfies.
As we entered the Rehearsal Room, a gregarious Japanese host greeted us via his English translator. The latter refused to translate what he deemed to be bad jokes or poor puns, however.
The director Toko Nikaido, fashioned in a fluffy bear hat and glittering make-up, watched the entire show while perched on a ladder behind the back row. Ostensibly noting every mistake made by the cast, this created an ominous yet bizarre premise.
Miss Revolutionary Idol Berserker is the kind of show that requires multiple confetti guns and disco balls. Cheery J-pop tunes mixed with metal bass blasted over the speakers as the twenty-five performers made their way onto the sparse stage and among the audience.
What followed was fifty minutes of energetic choreographed dance, farce, and lip-synching frivolity. Musical highlights included Hatsune Miku, themes from Haruhi and recent anime hits, Disney classics, and western ballads.
Performers both male and female wore rainbow coloured Japanese school uniforms, replete with knee-high socks and pleated skirts. These proved to be tearaway, as the audience learned during a dramatic reveal timed perfectly with the music.
The performers regularly showered the audience in water, confetti, seaweed, shaving cream, and chunks of tofu. In return, we were encouraged to throw props back onto the stage among the dancers, adding to the absurdity of the show.
For their encore, the troupe brought the entire audience onto the stage with them, offering hugs, high-fives, and glow sticks as encouragement. We laughed as we slowly realised their bright pink confetti had stained our skin. Finally, the cast created a human tunnel in the Dunstan Playhouse foyer, to bid their audience a raucous and fond farewell.
Miss Revolutionary Idol Berserker is not unlike a vivid dream experienced immediately after watching SBS Pop Asia – while heavily medicated on cold medicine. It is a celebration of modern Japanese pop-culture, an unabashed and wholly unrestrained performance.
Reviewed by Nicola Woolford
Rating (out of 5): 5 glowing multi-coloured stars
Venue: Rehearsal Room, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: 30 Sep – 03 Oct 2015
Duration: 50 minutes
Tickets: $20.00 – $35.00
Bookings: Book online through the Oz Asia Festival website or phone BASS on 131 246