One Green Bottle at Soho Theatre
What on earth? Hideki Noda’s new play – which is somewhat insane, but in a good way – certainly makes for an unforgettable experience at Soho Theatre.
One Green Bottle is set in a Japanese home where Boo (the mother), Bo (the father) and Pickle (the daughter) all have plans to go out. But, as someone must stay home to look after the pregnant Princess (their dog), the trio quickly descend into petty bickering. And to say that it all becomes ridiculous would be a massive understatement. It is quite bizarre, but ultimately enjoyable.
The drama takes about ten minutes to really get going, and at first there’s a worry that the creator is assuming that a man playing a female character and a woman playing a male character is funny. But once one acclimatises to the peculiarity of the piece as a whole, it becomes clear that this is actually brilliant casting. Glyn Pritchard playing a teenage Japanese girl is utterly fantastic.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking this is all just a joke. Noda (who also stars in the production) is a renowned writer and the artistic director of the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre. And alongside him, One Green Bottle stars the Olivier Award-winning actor and director Kathryn Hunter. In addition, the music is performed live by legendary Japanese Kabuki musician Denzaemon Tanaka XIII.
Yes, at times it is absolutely ludicrous, but it works. The show is, essentially, a very funny comedy written by a leading theatrical voice (translated and adapted by Will Sharpe), starring actors at the top of their game and backed by a stunning soundtrack.
Billed as a “comedy about consumerism and technology in a ‘selfie’ society,” the play explores how such an ideological climate can create a disconnected family. Not that the script is preachy at all: aside from the parents’ incredulity at how much time their daughter spends on her phone, it is not even explicitly stated. But it does seem that these characters value the experiences created by capitalism over each other.
One Green Bottle is riotous good fun and certainly recommended for anyone interested in the wacky and absurd.
Photo: Helen Maybanks
One Green Bottle is at Soho Theatre from 27th April until 19th May 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.