Edinburgh Fringe 2013
A Japanese comic who’s still working on his English (that’s his shtick), Hiroshi Shimizu presents an hour of funny stories, one-liners, and reinterpretations of popular movies. This is a rollicking good time that makes full use of every racial stereotype known to Japan, pokes fun at mainstream media, and reminds us that our differences are, after all, only skin deep.
No one can sweat like Hirishi Shimizu. On stage in the tiny lounge space at the Counting House, he’s barely a foot away from those of us in the front row (the room is packed full) and the stage itself is literally soaked in perspiration as this one-man-wonder works harder than I’ve ever seen a comic work for his laughs. And there are a lot of laughs. Hilarious, insightful, and peppy, Shimizu is all over the place as he entertains us with stories of ill-planned English lessons, shrewd observations of western attitudes, and re-appropriated racial stereotypes. There’s barely room to shift in our seats, so popular is this odd little show, and there’s good reason. Shimizu’s energy is boundless, the punches keep on coming and he never pulls a single one.
There’s gold in this performer whose wits are as sharp as his tongue (don’t let his ‘poor English skills’ fool you). His wordplay is delightful as he explores to excellent benefit the differences between English and Japanese pronunciation, and (even better) English and Japanese social conventions. An hour flies by as ribs are tickled and sides split. Now he’s running up and down the aisle, getting in our faces; now he’s reimagining the Terminator trailer; now he’s mopping more sweat from his brow (it’s like there’s a fountain hidden somewhere behind his hairline).
This is honest, great comedy from a comedian who knows his craft and works genuinely hard to entertain. There’s nothing obscure here, nothing pretentious. Shimizu plays to the whole room and invites us all into the joke. We are uplifted and delighted by the relentless cavalcade of humour until, suddenly and without warning, the show is over and we spill out wondering where the hour went. A fantastic show for anyone in need of a good laugh, Japanese ‘Locky’ is worth far more than the price of admission (free).