Kentaro Kobayashi’s solo show Mr Potsunen’s Peculiar Slice of Life was at the Leicester Square Theatre earlier this month and it was a real discovery for the British public as it was the artist’s first show in London.
Kentaro’s stage performance is an act of poetry, humour, freshness and grace. Through his remarkable imagination, Kentaro succeeds in creating a character, neatly dressed in black and white wearing black framed spectacles and a top hat. Mr Potsunen looks both familiar and strange. There is a strong surrealist, absurdist side to his character. Like a Beckett’s character, one can feel the terrible loneliness of his existence.
The real originality of the show lies in Kentaro’s clever use of the screen with constant projections of his own animations and illustrations. With a Charlie Chaplin–like energy, he appears and disappears from the stage, sometimes hiding behind the screen and reappearing to form a single figure with the form on the screen. His movements are perfectly synchronized and balanced in a duet relationship with the animations projected on the white screen. The use of his fingers is in the spirit of Belgian filmmaker Van Dormael’s show Kiss & Cry. His mime performance is often accompanied by a few absurd or simple and funny sentences on the screen, perfectly selected.
The story cannot be easily summarized: it is a continual association of ideas, familiar objects, and experiences derived from day-to-day life. It starts with the capture of butterflies and the discovery of a bulb whose species is not to be found in any insect’s encyclopedia. This light is the connecting thread to the whole story bringing us from one adventure to the next, from the start of the show to his conclusion.
The public in the audience was completely seduced. Kentaro Kobayashi has the talent to bring us into his eccentric and imaginative world. We can’t wait to see him again.