ARIGATO, TOKYO, is a rare and dangerous blossom and a new offering by playwright Daniel MacIvor, now playing at-in-Bad-Times Theatre, in downtown Toronto. The drama tells the tale of an author, much in love with sex and drugs, on a book tour of Japan, where he intends to promote his latest scribing on the nature of love.  Instead, he may be part of an elaborate hoax, created by desire and obsession.  MacIvor’s script provides a dissection of love, as seen from different vantage points.

However, what I found so compelling about this drama was the overall production at Buddies Theatre.  It’s a kind of landmark of what theatre can be, and should be. The minute  Arigato, Tokyo begins, you know you’re in a different world, one full of exquisite suggestion, echoes, shadows, and ghosts. This is  theatre at its finest, and magic that will follow you home.

Brendan Healy directs and he does it handsomely; his work is both edgy and highly restrained. In my view, any theatre director worth his salt will make an extra effort to see it.  Collectively, the cast is wonderful. This includes David Storch as the cynical Western writer who suppresses his romantic longings behind drink and cocaine and endless nights of sex with any gender available. There’s also the wonderful Cara Gee as the author’s “baby sitter”, managing the indulgent author on his ever-extended tour, and Michael Dufays as her brother and keeper of a strange secret.  Most of all, there’s the hypnotic  performance by Tyson James as the cross-dressing narrator of and participant in the story. This is an erotic work, sensual and evocative.

Upon my word, this is also NO ordinary presentation.  Whatever flaws this play and production might have are forgiven because it risks more than most would dare.  The set and costumes, the lighting, sound, music, dance and movement all work as a piece.


(Photos from theater’s website)

About Burke Campbell

Photographer, Writer, Journalist, Dramatist.
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