Shizuoka Street Performance World Cup 2016

We had yet another amazing night last week at Good Heavens Comedy Club – largely in thanks to the last minute appearance of physical comedy Trygve Wakenshaw. Trgyve was over in Japan for the Street Performance World Cup and got chatting to regular Good Heavens performer Peter Sidell who was down in Shizuoka to cover the festival. One thing led to another, and next thing you knew, we had a tall blonde guy in a hotel yukata doing an incredible dinosaur impression on our stage in Shimokitazawa to a standing ovation! Here is a short report from Peter on the the festival – make sure you check it out next year!

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By roving reporter Peter Sidell

At the holiday weekend at the start of November, I went to Shizuoka City for its annual festival of street performance, the Daidogei World Cup. There were over a hundred performers, mostly from Japan but many from overseas, ranging from clowns and jugglers to sketch groups, acrobats and more. I stayed for the whole four days, watching the free shows on outdoor stages all around the city. For pure spectacle, the highlights were colourful Russian acrobats Duo Doll, bouncing around like a couple of childrens’ toys come to energetic life, and Bencha, a Dutch couple who abseiled off the top of a building then stopped on the way down to dance some aerial tango.

When I say clowns I mean not only the red nose and big umbrella kind (which I avoided), but also physical and audience-participation comedians. El Gran Dimitri was hilariously deliberately incompetent, ‘levitating’ a teaspoon with a wire we could see from fifty yards away; Fraser Hooper did a brilliant Rocky sketch, clobbering a volunteer with giant gloves you could fit a small child in; and at one morning show, Trygve Wakenshaw mimed a self-eviscerating burlesque stripper in front of a group of uncomprehending (I hope) but still entertained Japanese children. Rocky also featured in the hugely entertaining rapid-fire show by Japanese sketch team To R Mansion, who also threw The Matrix, Frozen and Pyscho into the mix, and at the other end of the scale, SiVouPlait charmed me completely with their low-key, retro skits.

Check out Pete’s Youtube Channel for a few more videos of the festival.

The whole downtown area was buzzing throughout the festival, helped by the random performers on the ‘walking streets’. At any point you could bump into stilt-walkers in garish suits and top hats, cute sleepy French aliens Les Dedes, and Mihoo, either a face-painter dressed up as the Grim Reaper or a death goddess who just likes painting kids’ faces.

 

Held every autumn, this is the nearest Japan has to a comedy festival, so it’s definitely worth a visit for anyone who enjoys comedy, spectacle and entertainment.

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