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A review by Mary Couzens for EXTRA! EXTRA!




UK Premiere


Award Winning


Kentaro Kobayashi


Mr Potsunen’s Peculiar Slice of Life



Leicester Square Theatre


3 – 4 February 2015


This year, Central London’s chill February winds have wafted a warming breath of creativity from Japan, in the form of comedian, playwright, performing artist Kentaro Kobaysahi aka Mr Potsunen. ‘Peculiar’ though it may be, the ‘Slice of Life’ presented is an absorbing combo of acting, animation, mime, story-telling and sense heightening entertainment designed to reboot dormant imaginations.

In synch with his audience’s initial reaction, Mr P’s opening appearance onstage seems tentative, as he attempts to capture one of a bevy of insects fluttering across the large onstage screen. That these are no ordinary insects becomes clear as does the notion that it is not only advisable, but enjoyable to succumb to the engaging charms of captive and captor, oblivious to the many eyes watching them. With little to go on, my pre-conditioned observational skills lead me to liken the bug to Tinker Belle, a commercialised counterpart of Japanese mythology’s Yōsei or fairy amid a Pandora’s Box of Westernised references. As one scene leads into another, we become willing participants on Mr P’s magical journey, a seamless blend of ever surprising, smile inducing live and projected particulars.

Kobayashi’s gentle humour, mimed throughout, with proverbial statements appearing onscreen in Japanese and English, such as, ‘being a fan of cameras does not make one a good photographer,’ draws on many classic elements, iconic to either or both Japanese and Western myth and popular culture. Among those references, if my sensibilities are on form, are: The Koi Fish or Carp, noted symbol of individuality and perseverance, always moving from one place to another, Kabuki Theatre and Japanese mythology, in this case a bearded old man mask, reminding me of Netsuke I’ve seen, with traces of fairy-tale, Charlie Chaplin, Surreal artists Rene Magritte and M C Escher, Alice in Wonderland, Yellow Submarine and Sod’s Law overlapping translations. Underpinning all this and more are scenarios so universal to all human nature that we automatically chuckle at them – aloud!

Synching of sound and movement is essential to the show’s success and both merge, creating illusions which are experimental, and at times, somehow, familiar and always, irresistibly appealing. Kobayashi is both master mime and comedic actor and his graceful movements are so united with projection and sound, the lines between them are indivisible. One scene, in which Mr P balances, bounds and burrows his way through a forest of giant animated toadstools at top speed defies logic, leading one to believe that at its’ core, this journey is virtually, all about exploring and utilising space, both in real time and as it applies and/or defies imagination. Kobayashi is Mr P and ‘We are he…’

If you’re expecting high powered special effects, glitter or pizazz, this is not the show for you. But if you, like many in the Press Night audience, enjoy more personally rendered, low key entertainment that is, nonetheless, capable of igniting the imagination, look no further.

Mr Potsunen aka Kentaro Kobayashi’sendlessly intriguing and entertaining ‘Peculiar Slice of Life’, definitely suitable for children of all ages, is also highly recommended for the child in you!


Tickets: £15, Conc. £12

Leicester Square Theatre
6 Leicester Place, London, WC2H 7BX

Box Office: 08448 733433
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