Show Review: Mangekyo Taiko Drum Show

Drums, abs, and a whole lot of excitement. It’s like EXILE, only way cooler.

DRUM TAO is a performing group that specializes in wadaiko or Japanese drums. Their electrifying shows have been well-received around the world, with Tony nominations under their belt. Mangekyo, their most recent offering, runs at Shinagawa Prince Hotel from September 16 (Sat) – October 29 (Sun), 2017.

With English not its strongest suit, the theatrical troupes of Japan have consistently been attempting to hook the inbound market with non-verbal performances. The two shows I have seen attempt to do this, however, have both failed at two major points—storyline and music. The first is an obvious pitfall; there’s a lot you take away when you remove dialogue. It’s the latter that I find disappointing; both shows I saw made use of anime/game EDM unsuccessfully, resulting in a somewhat contrived use of the genre and directing it towards the wrong audience.

This is where Mangekyo stands out. The show focuses solely on spectacle, doing away with a storyline that might otherwise feel forced. Divided into several short performances that each has its own central theme, the show entices the audience with one astonishing feat after the other. One minute we see two men sitting on massive drums as they beat them, next we see a performer spin a gigantic cube on the palm of his hand. Some performers also played other traditional instruments such as the koto and the shamisen, adding variety to the music and rhythm.

What I liked about DRUM TAO the most is that they seem to have a good understanding of who their audience is, and therefore know how to work them. Perhaps one of the funniest parts of the show was when a bunch of the drummers formed a circle and played drums sitting down, while two others held video cameras connected to the large screen in the background. The video cameras teasingly zoomed in on the performers’ abs—a tongue-in-cheek fan service thrown in the mix of exciting performances.

If you’re looking for a stimulating show that you can watch with the whole family, this one is guaranteed to strike everyone’s fancy. Details on tickets below.

Show Details:

Title: Revolutionary New Drumming Entertainment in Tokyo -MANGEKYO-
Cast: DRUM TAO
Schedule: September 16 (Sat) –October 29 (Sun), 2017
Venue: Shinagawa Prince Hotel Club eX (Google Maps URL)
Tickets: Book at VELTRA

Full disclosure: I got the tickets for free, but I wrote this post of my own accord. 

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