PUCK / CRYSTAL TAKARAZUKAMoon Troupe - Tokyo TheaterDecember 2014Leads:
Ryuu Masaki & Manaki Reika
] [ Daily Sports photos
] [ Asahi photo gallary
So, eight years ago I watched and reviewed Suzukaze Mayo's version of PUCK
. It was cute, but not the kind of show which I fell in love with. And, indeed, over the years I've become less and less enamored with Takarazuka comedies. I was... less than enthusiastic when I found out Masaki would be doing Puck, and that it would be the 100th anniversary show I would end up seeing because of the timing. But I reminded myself that this might be the last time I would get to see her on a Takarazuka stage, and then I reminded myself that I fell in love with cute, adorable, ken-3 Masaki -- How often does a top star get to play an adorable role like Puck? This was the enormous smile
that I first fell for. And, lastly, I think we can all agree that there is a magic to live shows that makes them more special than anything we watch only on DVD.
All of which means that in the end the musical grew on me. Certainly, I felt the romance more than I remember feeling it in Suzukaze's version. And that romance made me happy♥
Anyway, summary can be read on the TakaWiki
. It's one of Koike's earlier productions, but even twenty years ago the majority of his shows were serious, dramatic pieces. This one tends to stand out. In his notes in the program, he mentions that at the time (summer of 1991) he had written and directed Great Gatsby
, which got some grumbles because people felt that as a summer show it didn't match with the Hankyu theme park Family Land, which used to be beside the Grand Theater. Puck
, Koike notes, was his "revenge"--a show that families could see over summer vacation in 1992. Apparently it turned his wife (who had never seen a Takarazuka show before then) into an instant Suzukaze Mayo fan, but Koike's own two young daughters preferred the summer fireworks. ;)
Someone else became a fan of the show, although she never saw it live. Masaki bought the soundtrack (back then they recorded the entire shows and released them on cassette and CD, similar to how they do the 2-acts today) and fell in love with the show, listening to it over and over again and memorizing all of the lines. When she became top star, she went to the theater management and to Koike and begged to be able to revive Puck
Well, with all of that backstory, I think I appreciated the show even more. *grin* I saw it five times: three times as planned, then once from tachimi, and an amazing Christmas gift from a wonderful friend of a ticket to see closing night.
So! ( On to the review: )
Overall, recommended for current Moon Troupe fans, for fans of ridiculous Takarazuka comedies, and for fans of A Midsummer Night's Dream
. CRYSTAL TAKARAZUKA
So, Crystal Takarazuka
is by Nakamura Satoru, who is that rare beast who still does an even mix of musical performances and revue shows. Actually, recently he's been doing more directing of special performances and revivals of other playwrights. But a lot of people know his Manon
. I also really liked his The Labyrinth of Loving You
and Somewhere in Time
adaptation. His Dance Romanesque
grew on me.
In fact, Crystal Takarazuka
has a lot of parallels to Dance Romanesque
, including the folk/fairy tale scene, the young otokoyaku pop scene, and the lovely modern dance group number. Check out the Wikipedia page for a run-down of the scenes.
Things which really made me happy about this revue include: the chuzume, the chuzume, the chuzume, and the otokoyaku staircase number.
The chuzume was a Latin bit, using songs by the Gypsy Kings. Shockingly, none of the music was cut for the DVD/blu-ray release. Why did this scene make me happy? Because it was classic Asako, including a resurgence of costumes from Apasionado
. Because it meant Masaki trying to make Asako's patented sexy-Latin-face while wearing said ridiculous costumes. Because she pulled it off
. Because one day I was dead-center, first row in the balcony and sexy-Latin-face-Masaki looked right at
that part of the balcony for a large portion of the scene and winked at
us. Because I think my heart may have exploded out of my chest about fifteen times. Yes. That.
I also enjoyed this revue because Chapi may be Dancing Queen, but we are not so far behind her. Masaki's dancing has improved enormously in the past 2.5 years. I am so proud of her! I almost didn't have my heart in my throat waiting for her to fall down the Grand Staircase. Except then she said that she's (still) terrified of going down the Grand Staircase and I got my heart in my throat again. Poor baby. We are still not Mariko, but we ARE
a Top Star♥♥
And Hayami Sei
had an amazing moment with Masaki in the modern dance number that made me literally squeal the first time I saw it. Thank you, Nakamura-S, or Hirasawa-S, or whoever
decided to give her that for her last show. You rock a lot.
Umi made a lovely etoile. Now I just have to actually remember her face. (For some reason right now we have an over-abundance of long-faced, mature-ish looking musumeyaku. I think this is awesome, but I cannot tell any of them apart. *weeps*)
Overall, this revue is awesome. Okay, okay, if you're not a Moon Troupe fan you may find it pretty standard Takarazuka fare. But I loved it. Even the obnoxious young otokoyaku pop number was bearable because An-chan was in it.
I was so happy I could be there for Yuumin's last show, and for An-chan's last show with Moon Troupe. The Moon Troupe in Puck was almost unrecognizable to me at first, with all of the retirements and transfers in the past three years. But then I looked deeper, and I realized that Moon Troupe will always be Moon Troupe.