South Pasadena local Paul Kikuchi has a rollicking comedy that made its world premiere at the Fremont Centre Theatre. “Slice” is about an impoverished armor repairman aiming to make the perfect sword. “Slice” ends this weekend.
If you’re looking for historical accuracy, you’ll want to go somewhere else. History is only a minor concern to Kikuchi who places us in 14th century and there’s plenty of talk about geisha although the institute didn’t emerge from the pleasure quarters (read prostitutes here) until the 18th century.
Of course, Kikuchi also mentions Crafts Services (began in 1920s), chocolate chip cookies (1930s) and Ginsu knives (1975). The costume designer Nicholas Hirata also mixes eras and dress styles and the fight choreography isn’t flashy or exciting–just silly.
Think of this as a zany, slapstick long comedy routine about a young entrepreneur, Kai Matsuda (Scott Keiji Takeda), with a dream and his mother (Emily Kuroda) who supports them by working at a geisha house (but not as a geisha). Kai repairs armor, but has been neglecting his work as he attempts to make the perfect sword that he will give to his patron, Lord Watanabe (Aaron Takahashi). With Lord Watanabe’s endorsement, his reputation will be made, but his work hasn’t been up to snuff. The two take in a refugee, Fumi (Elizabeth Ho), who has angered another local lord and has her face painted on wanted posters (photography hasn’t been invented yet). Fumi happens to be a whiz at repairs. Of course, Fumi and Kai will end up together and Watanabe will get a new sword.
Director Jeff Liu could tighten up the action, especially in the sword choreography. Yet there is definitely chemistry and good comedic timing with this ensemble.
“Slice” is a bit predictable but if you’re looking for laughs and non-political fair with an Asian flair, head on over to the Fremont Centre in South Pasadena.
“Slice” continues until Nov. 18 at the Fremont Centre Theatre, 1000 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena. Fridays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. $20-$25. Call (877) MTC-8777 or go to MetamorphosisTheatre.org.