The drummers of Japan return to London after 5 years in full swing with their latest show, ‘The Wings of Pheonix.' Not a beat missed. The performance is incredibly dynamic and energetic both in audio and visual. The drummers not only pursue rhythm but will also excite the heartbeat. The performance also boasts a wide range of taiko drums, as well as traditional instruments including koto (akin to guitars) and chappa (akin to cymbals). The largest drum, the Odaiko, made of a 400-year-old tree, is impressive in sound and size, marking two meters in diameter which the drummers have perfect mastery over. Whilst the passion and craftsmanship of the performers take centre stage, the performance also showcases the beauty of different taiko drums–the many sounds and ways of playing. 


The performance does not follow a linear story but is led by the sheer passion and dynamism the drummers exude. The choreography presents a forceful spectacle whereby the drummers spin and manoeuvre almost as if they are dancing all whilst drumming in perfect harmony. Yamato is a Japanese taiko drumming group founded in Nara in 1993. The origin of the name Yamato stems from the eighth century when Japan was known as Yamato. The historical roots of the drumming group and the energy of the young performers present synergy and offer a playful take on the traditional instruments. Their fervour to communicate with the audience is heartfelt which does not fail to elicit participation. 


The set design, costumes and lighting add vibrancy to the performance. The light work especially added rhythmic and dramatic effects which enhanced the visuals. The scene where the drummers play with the reflection of the bronze chappa was fun and nostalgic, but soon after the show culminates in a grand finale of fiery beats. As the rhythm rises and falls, the tremor and tenacity engulf the stage.  


It runs until 22 June.


Review: Sam SY Lee