The opening of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s new work, TeZukA, is adorable. Capturing the vulnerability of artist Osamu Tezuka’s cartoons, a male dancer, dressed in long shorts and moving in a childlike way grips his latest comic book with his toes. In enters Astro Boy, one of the most well know of Tezuka’s creations, part boy part robot, and soon you’re lost in a world of anime!
For some, Cherkaoui’s decision to make a danced documentary, with an almost constant explanation of the characters, Tezuka’s life and the Japanese history of nuclear disaster, might be a blessing. His past works, more philosophical in nature (Foi, Babel or Myth) have given audiences little insight into his work aside from movement and a few programme notes. In comparison TeZukA leads you by the hand and down the hero-worshipping path.
Drawing and calligraphy play a major role is determining the style of the movement – look out for Daniel Prioetto producing those irresistibly watchable, award-winning turns that sum up the swirl of a brush. The rest of the movement is stylised by the characters — Tezuka created thousands and Cherkaoui does a good job of getting in as many as he can.
Grab a ticket if you like your cartoon characters to come to life in amazing ways. Wait for Cherkaoui to edit TezukA if you can’t sit still for two hours.
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui – TeZukA Sadler’s Wells, 6-10 September. Tickets from £10