The joy of the Edinburgh Fringe is finding a musical which not only ticks all the toe-tapping boxes but also inspires and brings something new. In Tokyo Rose, Burnt Lemon Theatre steps confidently up to the mark.
Tokyo Rose takes us back to World War 2, taking on the life of Iva Toguri d’Aquino who was accused of treason in one of the most controversial trials in American history.
We watch Iva’s life unfold, American-born with Japanese heritage. The unwitting choice her mother makes to send her to Japan to tend to her poorly aunt rather than continue her studies. That fate would see this happen just before the attack on Pearl Harbour, that a U.S. passport couldn’t be accessed.
And all of this unfolds with beat and attitude. With clever choreography and music the talent on stage creates the conviction and sadness in Iva’s struggle to return home. Each of the five-strong cast are impressive in voice and movement, rap underpins and reinforces moments in the story which underpin the injustice.
Maya Britto as Toguri is inspiration, in energy and strength. Convincing in the blows life throws at her. It is in the relationship with her mother (Yuki Sutton) where her warmth is balanced.
With set, music and choreography working seamlessly together there is everything to love about this production. Something screams, against every Edinburgh Festival principle, that it would be good to slow down. Whilst the fast pace works, it feels too fast. Maybe it’s a good thing to be left wanting more. In the case of Tokyo Rose it feels underappreciated, that there is too much talent and too much of a story to compress into an hour.
Tokyo Rose is at the Underbelly Cowgate as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. You can see the production at 18.55 until Sunday 25th August.
Disclosure: This review is part of media accreditation for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. All views and opinions contained are my own.