Reworked 1-man ‘Daredevil’ not a clone of 2004
Jason Kanda reaffirms his strengths as a multi-faceted comic actor with Kumu Kahua's current "Dark Night Series" production of "Daredevil Blues." The show is an expanded and reworked version of the production that was presented by the Two Chicks, One Pake and One Popolo Theatre Collective in 2004. Kanda again stars in this one-man show, and he excels once again bringing playwright Eric Yokomori's over-the-edge characters to life, but enough changes have been made to keep the show from being a clone of the 2004 production.
Presented by Kumu Kahua
» Where: 46 Merchant St.
» When: 7:30 p.m. tomorrow through Tuesday
» Tickets: $10 ($5 for students and Kumu Kahua members)
» Call: 536-4441
There's a male announcer (Jason Ellinwood) this time to announce the abrupt transitions between monologues. There is also stagehand/actor (Wayne Takabayashi) who has a small but important part in a new segment.
And, the intermission entertainment this time consists of Kanda dancing for 4:44 [4-minutes 44-seconds] to the music of James Brown.
Kanda's got the dance moves down, but he also makes each monologue a must-watch experience. The characters are not people you would knowingly bring into your home but almost all are memorable.
A mediocre magician has a mental breakdown when he discovers that his favorite rabbit has died. A prison inmate helplessly spews obscenities while trying to get his girlfriend to promise she'll wait 20 years for him. A man explains to his father's corpse that a country song about a pet duck killed "by an errant spray of bullets" while saving a group of teenage girls from a drive-by shooting has left him "all cried out."
Although some sketches are relatively shallow, and several assay out as either "sick" or "gross," almost all contain thought-provoking insights on topics such as family relationships, love, death, success and sex. None of Yokomori's sketches is predictable. Kanda makes almost all of them fascinating theater.
On the other hand, there's "The Human Race," which appears to be a vignette in which a man is trying to seduce a woman with a preposterous story about why she should have sex with him. The final lines show that the man is apparently sincere.
Kanda blends posture and body language, dialect and inflection, to define the speaking characters, and some others as well. A wooden chair, a blanket and a "spork" suffice as props.
The props include the playbill, which figures in an important (and painless) bit of audience participation in "I Want to Live." Don't throw it away.
The only weak spot in the show is "The Law," which takes place almost entirely off-stage and therefore lacks the visual impact of the others.