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Tokyo Rose

“Punchy, post-hamilton musical”

Burnt Lemon Theatre turned heads last year with raucous gig-theatre show The Half Moon Shania. They’re back this year, as part of the New Diorama Theatre’s Untapped Award, with Tokyo Rose, a rap-infused musical telling the story of Iva Toguri, an American citizen who broadcast Japanese propaganda during the Second World War.

It’s very much a post-Hamilton musical – it digs up an overlooked story, retells it in a whirlwind of rapid-fire lyrics and lung-bursting solos, and spins it all into a comment on contemporary America.

A lot of the right ingredients are there. The material is seriously interesting, a moving story of a woman caught between two hostile countries, intelligently framed by a courtroom trial. The performances – Maya Britto, Yuki Sutton, Lucy Park, Cara Baldwin and Hannah Benson, who directs deftly as well – are punchy. And its good to see three actors of East Asian descent on stage.

But it doesn’t quite come together. There is a lot of plot that writers Baldwin and Maryhee Yoon struggle to elucidate and interrogate at the same time. The score, composed by William Patrick Harrison, is over-stuffed, and several accents wobble as well. Perhaps it will play better in London in October.

(I)sland (T)rap – The Epic Remixology of the Odyssey review at Assembly Checkpoint, Edinburgh – ”utterly persuasive’


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Production Details
Production nameTokyo Rose
VenueUnderbelly Cowgate
StartsAugust 1, 2019
EndsAugust 25, 2019
Running time1 hr
AuthorCara Baldwin, Maryhee Yoon
ComposerWilliam Patrick Harrison
DirectorHannah Benson
Assistant directorMaryhee Yoon
Set designerLuke Robson
Costume designerErin Guan
Lighting designerHolly Ellis
CastCara Baldwin, Hannah Benson, Lucy Park, Maya Britto, Yuki Sutton
ProducerBurnt Lemon Theatre, Tanya Agarwal
VerdictA punchy, post-Hamilton musical about Iva Toguri, the American citizen accused of broadcasting Japanese propaganda in the Second World War
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Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

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