Review: MUSICAL 'BEETLEJUICE' at Osaka Shochikuza

Jesse of SixTONES drags guests to haunted BEETLEJUiCE world

By: Sep. 19, 2023
Review: MUSICAL 'BEETLEJUICE' at Osaka Shochikuza

Musical "BEETLEJUiCE": A musical based on film works by director Tim Burton, known for movies such as "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." It premiered on Broadway in 2019 and garnered significant attention, receiving Tony Award nominations in 8 categories including Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Original Score. In 2021, it was also performed in South Korea, and a North American tour started in 2022. In Japan, it stars Jesse from SixTONES and is directed by Yuichi Fukuda.

A couple turned ghosts due to an unfortunate accident seeks to evict Lydia (Miisha Shimizu) and her parents, who have recently moved into their home, with the help of the bio-exorcist Beetlejuice (Jesse). Following Beetlejuice's advice, the ghost couple attempts to scare the residents, while Lydia, who can see ghosts, cooperates in persuading her parents to let go of the house. However, they face resistance from Lydia's parents, and when Lydia once again seeks Beetlejuice's help, things take an unexpected turn.

Before the show began, I had a slight concern, wondering if Jesse, in contrast to the original film, might appear too young and fine. However, this concern quickly faded away as the performance unfolded. With thunder, deep bass, and a congregation of mourners in black, the story commenced from Lydia's mother's funeral. In a sudden twist, Beetlejuice, singing ironically, emerged from the crowd of the attendees. He invited the audiences to the deceased world by handling his lines and singing the opening number "The Whole 'Being Dead' Thing" with his gruff voice which showcased surprisingly beautiful transition to high notes. The production was already filled with numerous references to current affairs and local story, including interactions with the audience, making it enjoyable even for regulars. Likewise, Miisha presented her exceptional vocal prowess as she sang "Dead Mom" with a powerful performance that vividly conveyed the depth of her feelings for her late mother. Later, she also sang "Say My Name" beautifully with covering the high notes.

The explosive resurrection of Beetlejuice at the end of Act One was a spectacle, with the use of pyrotechnics and stage effects effectively conveying his excitement. The musical score of the first half, ranging from ballads to Latin, already added to the richness of the experience and made it worth savoring for its musicality alone.

Review: MUSICAL 'BEETLEJUICE' at Osaka Shochikuza
Jesee(center), Miisha(middle in the right)

As Act Two begins, I could see Jesse's continuously meticulous attentions to detail in various parts of his portrayals, including his delicate and comical expressions and movements, and his contorted posture throughout each moment despite his main job as an idol. Moreover, what I thought one of the reasons he was casted was his English skill, but his other proficiencies were even enough. As the story progresses, it becomes evident that Jesse is irreplaceable as the lead in Musical "BEETLEJUiCE." What's more, he seemed to have many ad-libbed performances, inferred from other casts' reactions, but they felt so natural, leaving the me wondering, "Is this in the script?" He truly made the character his own.

On the other hand, in the afterlife where Lydia and her father become lost, a familiar character with a small head from the film made appearances which was a delightful treat for original movies fans. Scenes when Lydia's mournful remembrance of her mother and her father revealing his hidden feelings resonated deeply, drew tears by creating touching moments within this comedy. In contrast, the climax number "Jump in the Line/ Dead Mom (Reprise)" was vibrant and grand, wrapping up the show in classic comedic fashion, bringing smiles to the audience.

Overall, Miisha's performance was outstanding, and made me want to see her in other productions as well. Every Beetlejuice's song requires a versatile vocal range and a strong comedic element, like a sarcastic version of Genie from Aladdin. In musicals like this, it's common for actors to struggle with delivering comedy while singing and dancing vigorously, often giving a sense of strain. However, Jesse effortlessly handled these aspects, not only captivating with his singing but also eliciting laughter from the audience one moment after another. Musical "BEETLEJUiCE" features easily enjoyable music and a clear storyline, striking a delightful balance without being too heavy. It's a recommended choice even for musical novices.

Photo Credit: [© Fuji Television Network, Inc.]



Interview: Chatting With KUNI RX, Star of Royal Caribbean Internationals AQUATHEATER Photo
Interview: Chatting With KUNI RX, Star of Royal Caribbean International's AQUATHEATER

KUNI RX: In 2018, 2022, and 2023, KUNI RX captivated audiences from over the world with acrobatic martial arts performances as the main character in 'AquaTheater' aboard one of the world's largest luxury cruise ships, Royal Caribbean International's 'Symphony of the Seas' which sails the Caribbean and European countries. Combining various acrobatics such as rhythmic gymnastics and martial arts, he has been active in stage live performances, movies, motion capture, and as an acrobatics instructor both domestically and internationally. His notable works include “WaterWorld' at Universal Studios Japan, a stunt double for “KAMEN RIDER WIZARD,' Hollywood movie 'Blade of the 47 Ronin,' and the motion capture for 'Demon Slayer.' Currently, KUNI RX is dedicated to strive to spread Japanese traditional entertainment worldwide by his unique style, blending with Japanese culture “Ninja” and his 26 years of experience.

独占インタビュー: ロイヤル・カリビアン・インターナショナル世� Photo
独占インタビュー: ロイヤル・カリビアン・インターナショナル世界最大級豪華客船常設ショー主演、KUNI RX

KUNI RX: 2018年、2022年、2023年と3期に渡りカリブ海、ヨーロッパ諸国を巡るロイヤル・カリビアン・インターナショナルの世界最大級豪華客船「シンフォニー・オブ・ザ・シーズ」常設劇場「アクアシアター」のショーにてアクロバティック・マーシャル・アーティストとして主役に抜擢され、世界中の人々を魅了。男子新体操や武道など、様々なアクロバットを組み合わせ、国内外のステージライブパフォーマンス、映画、モーションキャプチャー、アクロバット講師として活躍している。主な代表作はユニバーサル・スタジオ・ジャパン「ウォーターワールド」、「仮面ライダーウィザード」アクロバット吹き替え、ハリウッド映画「47RONIN-ザ・ブレイド」、モーションキャプチャー「鬼滅の刃」など。現在は日本文化の「忍者」と自身の26年の経験を融合させ、KUNI RX独自のスタイルで和のエンターテイメントを世界に発信すべく邁進している。

独占インタビュー: 美 少年、初の単独主演舞台「少年たち」を経て Photo
独占インタビュー: 美 少年、初の単独主演舞台「少年たち」を経て海外公演も視野に

美 少年:佐藤龍我、岩﨑大昇、浮所飛貴、那須雄登、金指一世、藤井直樹の平均年齢20歳の6名で2017年に現在のグループの形になった。過去にも出演していた舞台「少年たち」では、今年10月に初の単独主演を果たした(参照 公演レポート:「少年たち」 闇を突き抜けて)。「少年たち」は1969年の初演以来、進化を遂げながら現在まで繋がれ続けている。美 少年はデビュー前にも関わらず、舞台、CM、ドラマ、バラエティーとその活動は多岐に渡り、今注目の若手グループ。レギュラーでは日本テレビ系「嗚呼!!みんなの動物園」に那須氏が、WOWOW×東海テレビ「ギフテッド Season2」に浮所氏が出演している。また、NHK総合「超多様性トークショー!なれそめ」に岩﨑氏と那須氏が、NHKラジオ第1「らじらー!サタデー」に週替わりでメンバーが出演中。来年春には、堂本光一氏がスーパーヴァイザーを務める帝国劇場での公演への出演も決まっている。

Interview: Bishonen on SHONENTACHI 2023: is Showing Enthusiasm for Overseas Performances Photo
Interview: Bishonen on SHONENTACHI 2023: is Showing Enthusiasm for Overseas Performances

Bishonen: Ryuga Sato, Taisho Iwasaki, Hidaka Ukisho, Yuto Nasu, Issei Kanasashi, Naoki Fujii - a group of six with an average age of 20, formed in 2017 with current members. In the past, they had also appeared in the stage production “SHONENTACHI' and achieved their first solo lead role in “SHONENTACHI 2023: Through The Darkness” (Click here to see Review: 'SHONENTACHI' 2023) in October of this year. SHONENTACHI has been continuously evolving since its first run in 1969 and remains connected to the present day. Despite being pre-debut, Bishonen has engaged in various activities, including stage performances, commercials, dramas, and variety shows, gaining attention as a rising young group. Notably, Yuto appears on 'Ah, Minna no Doubutsuen(嗚呼!!みんなの動物園)” on NTV, Hidaka joined the main cast of 'Gifted (ギフテッド)Season 1 & 2” on WOWOW and Tokai TV, Taisho and Yuto appear on, 'Cho Tayosei Talk Show! Naresome(超多様性トークショー!なれそめ)” on NHK General, and NHK Radio 1’s 'Radirer! Saturday' features rotating members every week. Additionally, they are set to perform in a spring production at the Imperial Theatre supervised by Koichi Domoto.


KANO - A Thousand-Mile Walk To Koshien in Japan KANO - A Thousand-Mile Walk To Koshien
Botchan Theater (4/01-3/31)

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