Thursday, March 24, 2016

"Tokyo Fish Story" ☼ ☼ ☼ BANG

Be hungry, you're going to want sushi.

Idaho-raised Kimber Lee takes us on a journey to tradition-bound Japan, where sushi master Koji (Francis Jue) is reluctant to lower his exacting standards, as he works with his son and heir Takashi (James Seol). Koji is certain things can only be done the way they've always been done. But times are changing around him and the crowds have begun to favor Koji's competition across the street, where they offer appetizers, a sushi boat and dessert.

Takashi is caught in the middle. Meanwhile, Linden Tailor plays Nobu, Takashi's assistant, whose hip-hop language represents the new world within the old.

Likewise, Nicole Javier's Ama brings a female into the shop, something that would never have been allowed in the old days, for a woman's hands were said to be too cold to make perfect sushi.

We love Koji's monologues, especially the opening one where he speaks to the tuna in the fishmonger's shop. They are no longer so numerous, nor of the superior quality Koji desires. Later, as he is aging, he speaks to the river: "My old friend. We flow backwards these days. Where have all the fish gone?"


The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "Tokyo Fish Story" Three Stars with a Bangle of Praise. The ensemble of actors earns one, Kirsten Brandt's direction another and Wilson Chin's spectacular staging another. The Bangle is for the graceful ballet with the blue cloths. This show looks as good as it tastes.

"Tokyo Fish Story"
Lucie Stern Theatre
1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto 
Through April 3

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