Takuro Ohno stars in The Menier Chocolate Factory co-production with the Umeda Arts Theater of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Pacific Overtures.
Matthew White directs Jon Chew (Reciter), Kanako Nakano (Tamate), Saori Oda (Shogun/Madam), Takuro Ohno (Kayama), and Joaquin Pedro Valdes (Manjiro), with Luoran Ding, Masashi Fujimoto, Rachel Hayne Picar, Eu Jin Hwang, Abel Law, Ethan Le Phong, JoJo Meredith, Patrick Munday, Sario Solomon, Joy Tan, Lee V G, and Iverson Yabut.
Pacific Overtures opens at Menier Chocolate Factory on 4 December, with previews from 25 November, and runs until 24 February.
You’re starring in Pacific Overtures at Menier Chocolate Factory, what can you tell us about the show?
I am so happy and delighted to be on the stage at The Menier Chocolate Factory playing a main character performing with a wonderful company.
The story is set in Japan and based on actual historic events so as a representative of Japanese actors, I would love to embody my authenticity and express the world of Japan back in Edo period.
This will be your UK stage debut, how does it feel to be starring in this revival of Sondheim’s musical?
It is not only my first time in the UK, being on the stage in London but also it is my first time performing in a Sondheim musical. As like other shows of Sondheim this show has some very tricky scores to tackle. I am learning every day and when something clicks and makes sense it is such a great feeling. I have had a lot of epiphany moments already and it’s been an exciting journey, full of surprises, filled with joy and such a rewarding challenge for me!
And what are you most looking forward to about working at the Menier Chocolate Factory?
The Menier Chocolate Factory is a wonderful space. The auditorium is adjustable, so we will be playing from the traverse style stage in this production. The audience will be able to see us from all angles, so it is incredible intimate and one of the things I am most looking forward to.
You’re playing Kayama, what do you love about this character?
My character absorbs things like a sponge and therefore, grows very fast. At the beginning he is living an ordinary life as a lowly Samurai. He has a strong sense of curiosity, with a complicated state of mind but tries to live fully as much as he can, I find that part of him so interesting to play.
And what do you think will be the biggest challenge?
Performing in English. Singing in English with Sondheim’s lyrical songs. The complicated state of mind which is hard to express with words… but I will be pouring my heart and soul into this show and can’t wait for the challenge.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Pacific Overtures?
You will learn something from coming to see Pacific Overtures. You will be moved and entertained by a cast full of energy. There is a lot for you to enjoy! Come along and see us at The Menier Chocolate Factory.