Yuriko Kotani @ Pleasance Courtyard

The debut hour from BBC radio new comedy award winner Yuriko Kotani pokes fun at our cultural differences

Review by Thomas Hamill | 07 Aug 2019
  • Yuriko Kotani

Yuriko Kotani has a winning onstage presence encompassing both enthusiasm and deadpan, setting the themes of the show early with some tight autobiographical material on Japan. This is followed by her building a picture of the structured and repressive facets of Japanese culture that she moved away from fifteen years ago. Now, having lived in London for over a decade, she makes some wonderfully odd observations on British culture and contrasts it well with her home culture. Picking up on quirks such as what ‘on time’ means, the use of the word ‘ish’ and her failed attempt at giving her grandfather a hug, all has the crowd in stitches. 

Kotani seems liberated, revelling in the freedom that she has found by moving away from Japan; the way she is finally able to be loud and put up the middle finger to everything that’s ever repressed her brought some tender moments to the show. 

However, the show’s structure causes a little confusion when Kotani delivers her resonating finale. It receives a deserved applause break, but is followed by another fifteen minutes of material, leaving the audience wondering where they stand. 

At its best, the hour manages to bring a unique perspective to otherwise run-of-the mill cultural observations and the fun she is having on stage translates to the audience whom she holds charmed. However, Somosomo has pacing issues, as Kotani attempts to bring everything and everyone together for her final, final message. 

Yuriko Kotani: SomosomoPleasance Courtyard (Attic), until 26th Aug (not 12), 7pm, £7.50-£11