I just caught the East West Players production of Krunk Fu Battle Battle, and I gotta say, the one word that really describe this hip-hop musical is FUN. Not only are there some sick dance moves executed on stage, the characters are hilarious and relatable at the same time. More after the jump.
Since the main male-lead, Lawrence Kao of Kaba Modern fame from MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, is from my hometown of Hacienda Heights and I happen know him personally, I found it kind of hard at first to see him portray the role of “Norman Lee.”
I had a similar problem when I watched last summer’s Star Trek film with Sylar from Heroes (Zachary Quinto) playing Spock. At the beginning of the movie, I kept reeling every time I saw Sylar walk onto screen, expecting him to cut someone’s head open and eat some mutant brains. But as soon as I’d settled into the film, I sunk into the acceptance that he was actually Spock, and the adverse reaction was no longer there, a testament to the story telling and acting.
Happily, the same result happened for Krunk Fu. As I sunk into the story, I watched Norman Lee trying hard to make all the challenges of his life work for him, with a lively group of supporting characters to make the whole tale come alive.
The plot and story are not revolutionary with its pretty classic new-kid-on-the-block and Karate Kid coming-of-age setting, but it was solid. My only real complaints were that there were solo segments for various characters in which their voices couldn’t be heard clearly, so the story would drag at these parts, but I think it was because it was hard for me to clearly comprehend the monologue and even some of the dialogue. With Diana Lee Inosanto listed as a fight choreographer and the original concept of the production stemming from a anime hip-hop martial arts musical idea, I was hoping for more kung fu action, but the premise of this story clearly revolves around hip-hop and not martial arts. But hey, if East West Players puts on a wuxia musical, I’ll be ECSTATIC.
Definitely check out Krunk Fu Battle Battle at the East West Players before the run ends on June 26, 2011. You’re guaranteed a good time, and since it’s in Little Tokyo, L.A. (that’s Los Angeles not Little Assassin), you can get some delicious food before and after the show. Chado and Curry House for me! Talk about a good day!