Some pranks are humorous, some of the gross-out variety: Danna inhales milk, which then dribbles from his eyes. More than one Boy drops his pants to demonstrate low stunts that look highly uncomfortable.
As at perfs of our own Blue Man Group, which Tokyo Shock most closely resembles, spectators who sit nearest the stage do so at their peril (the first few rows are provided with parasols to protect them from debris). Some audience members are invited onstage, an experience that at least one woman, who ended up zip-locked in a gigantic plastic bag, seemed to find distressing.
What saves the show from either total silliness or complete turnoff is the cool expertise of the performers. Under Murray Pope’s fast-paced direction, the Boys control each moment with skill, bravado and an appealing tendency to laugh at both the audience and themselves. Music arranger Satoshi Nishikata, who stands upstage playing drums and punctuating the action with an intense rock sound, becomes part of the exuberant proceedings.
But in the end, one is hard-pressed to figure out exactly where the joke lies: With The Tokyo Shock Boys’ bizarre stunts, or on audiences paying to watch.