[Vancouver Fringe Festival ’15] One Otaku’s Pick: Kiss Around Pass Around, A Review

14 Sep

11235244VENUE:
Revue Stage
at Granville Island
1601 Johnston St.
Vancouver, BC

Thurs, Sep 17 6:45 pm
Sat, Sep 196:30 pm
Sun, Sep 203:40 pm

One part Banana Splits, two parts Japanese Folklore and three parts variety show make for a very quirky show called Kiss Around Pass Around. Yanomi Shoshinz (better known as Miss Hiccup back in Victoria Fringe Festival 2010 and 2012) created this act which blends a lot of traditions into a kaleidoscope of fun. But just what is a Kesaran Pasaran? Not many Fringe show attendees will want to research this name prior to or after seeing this production during the Vancouver Fringe Festival. As this event hits mid-way, perhaps its time to demystify this creature.

According to one online source, it’s the name of a spirit of good fortune. It’s essentially a white ball of fluff that’s evolved from a plant. When the material flies around like the white parts of a dandelion after a strong gust of wind, the joy it brings is often a delight to anyone running through a field of them. That’s what this show is like.

When considering the wig that Shoshinz-san wears is white, that’s basically what the character brings to audiences. After the show, people will feel nothing but good vibrations. In the anime My Neighbor Totoro, they would be a kin to the black soots (susuwatari) seen bouncing about in the Kusakabe home. Young Mei in that movie is simply one huge bundle of energy that cannot be restrained and Yanomi is just the same.

In this show, she appears out of a trunk with the same kind of demure. She’s full of curiosity and wonder. This white fuzzy spirit is like a lost baby gosling needing papa, and he’s nowhere to be seen. Mama is somewhere, out in the shadows, helping her daughter along and sending messages on leaves. But since she can’t read, she enlists the aid of the audience to help her out and that’s when this performance starts to grow. She gets kooky in a charming way (with sock puppets and a fishing pole) and to see how she blooms into adulthood is just as fascinating. If there was choice for a winning family friendly formula for the Fringe circuit, this play has to be it!

4½ out of 5 Stars

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