A Night at the Kabuki @ Sadler’s Wells Review

Ending in tragedy, Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet is a storyline familiar with many – two teens from warring families brought together by their unrivalled affection for one another. Set in stone, their fates sadly play out, the impact this has on those around them clear to see. But what happens if their fates are tweaked and changed? Inspired by Queen’s A Night at the Opera album and Romeo & Juliet, Hideki Noda presents A Night at the Kabuki, a delve into rival families – the Genji and the Taira’s worlds – set in 12th century Japan.

Courtesy of Kishin Shinoyama.

We’re all aware of Plan A, and how that tragically plays out, so what could possibly happen next if Romeo and Juliet live out their affair again, but with different variables and circumstances? A Night at the Kabuki contemplates Plan B, the what could possibly happen if time travel were a possibility, pasts reshaped, manipulated, a hopefully happier outcome accomplished! Noda attentively able to reimagine the well known tale and have it connect instantly with our current metaverse hyper-reality, one where we willingly accept parallel scenarios and alternate conclusions.

Takako Matsu’s Old Juliet and Takaya Kamikawa’s Old Romeo a comforting factor throughout, their weighty bond felt as they navigate Suzu Hirose’s Juliet of Minamoto and Jun Shison’s Romeo of Taira’s new found romance. Noda encapsulating the overlapping nature of this complicated love affair, Old Romeo and Old Juliet ghosts that can’t let go, their new iterations youthful, and a couple we root for. Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody a permanent echo throughout, dreamy, hazy, we soak in the show’s vivacious dynamic. Ideas, expansive – the ensemble perfectly pitch the melodrama you’d expect with such a tragic storyline as this, yet balancing this with such humour and wit. A fantastic fusion of physical theatre, laugh out loud slapstick moments, heart thumping soundscapes, an abundance of vibrant colours and a striking aesthetic, A Night at the Kabuki doesn’t dissapoint!

Written by Lucy Basaba.

A Night at the Kabuki was shown from Thursday 22nd until Saturday 24th September 2022 at Sadler’s Wells. To find out more about the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop