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Thursday, February 12, 2015


Quirky, witty, zany, eccentric, nutty and totally off the wall. (Review by Keith Millar)

To borrow a quote from Monty Python – “And now for something completely different”. That perfectly sums up the performance by the Japanese, all male dance troupe, the Condors, who appeared in Durban this week for two performances at the Catalina Theatre.

They are quirky, witty, zany, eccentric, nutty and totally off the wall. A lot of words to describe a dance troupe, but that is because in many ways they defy description or categorisation. They call themselves a dance troupe. But in addition to their serious contemporary dance (although I am not sure anything this group does is really serious), they offer a variety of acts including comedy skits, storytelling, puppetry and video projections. Each segment of their show is uniquely different and splendidly performed.

What is more, far from being a young, athletic and perfectly synchronised dance troupe, they are in fact a group of mostly middle-age men of every shape and size. There is one member who can’t be more than 150 centimetres tall and another who would certainly have to do his shopping for clothes in the XXXL section of the store. To make things a little more bizarre, their trademark dress is Japanese boy’s school uniforms.

However, that is not to say that they deliver anything short of a high energy, flat out and highly skilled performance. Dancing to loud retro rock music they give it their all and, despite Durban’s stifling humidity, they leave nothing in the tank.

The skits, stories and video projections are irreverent, absurd and very funny. They poke fun at everything from Japanese pop culture to television game shows. They keep their performance topical. A spoof video advertisement for an insurance company was shot at Wilson’s Wharf itself, while a parody of a television programme which used zany puppets to teach children the alphabet used examples such as J for Johnny Cregg (Clegg),O for Oscar and L for Load-shedding.

The Condors which has 14 members, was founded by dancer, choreographer and actor Ryohei Kondo while he was at university in 1996. To this day the crux of the original group remains together. They have a cult following in Japan and their popularity overseas is ever increasing.

The troupe was brought to South Africa by acclaimed Cape Town dancer, choreographer and teacher, Jacki Job, who worked in Japan for nine years.

Their current tour of South Africa is very brief. But this is a dance troupe to look out for if you like your entertainment off-beat and uncomplicated and are ready to enjoy “something completely different”. – Keith Millar