re:Fujisan

Japanese dance company LaN-T003 have been to the Fringe several times before, bringing with them an eccentric blend of video art, physical theatre and quirky slapstick. Unfortunately, this year’s offering was not quite as fresh nor as coherent as previous efforts.

Several of the individual sequences were a pleasure to watch, but others either fell short of their absurdist humor goal, or simply failed to be interesting.

re:Fujisan is supposedly focused on the topic of Mount Fuji, but instead comes across as rather disjointed. The performers are at their best when carrying out hip-hop-infused dance routines that interlock into mechanical, robotic forms, but the show tends to sag during other sequences. One video/physical theatre performance sees grainy footage of a child pushing a toy across the screen, which is then repeatedly copied by one of the dancers in the guise of the toddler on-screen. Though amusing for the first couple of times, this loses its shine after six or seven repeats.

There’s no doubt that LaN-T003 are accomplished dancers and choreographers, but their video art is a little more difficult to parse. Their Windows ‘95-esque visuals are presumably an aesthetic choice but seem dangerously easy to mistake for sloppiness. For example, the main appearance from Mount Fuji comes in the form of a kind of slideshow of pixelated photos, whereas a far better example of their combination of video art and dance was the sequence where LaN-T003 played with their video-projected doppelgangers.

It’s possible that re:Fujisan would have made more sense if it was introduced as what it was: a series of vignettes, varying in tone and style. Several of the individual sequences were a pleasure to watch, but others either fell short of their absurdist humor goal, or simply failed to be interesting.

Reviews by Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Our new moves will excite you. Mount Fuji is a beautiful mountain but it’s a volcano, my dear. You never know when it’s going to erupt. It might be today. Our mountain Mount Fuji is the tallest in Japan and is loved by its people. The mountain, however, is littered with hikers and there is a nuclear power station nearby. How can we deal with this paradox? 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Herald Angels Award winner. Praise for Jishin, 2012, ‘exhilaratingly slick’ **** (Herald), ‘urban energy and a pulsing, kinetic style of movement’ (List).

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