Did you hear that The Flaming Lips have a new musical? Yup! It's currently playing at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego. We saw it this weekend and we enjoyed Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots so much that afterwards we made a donation to the theater to help support their amazing work.
There is NO WAY the Playhouse is making any money on Yoshimi. This show is expensive!!!!!!!
It cost so much to develop the amazing puppets in the show. And the production is BIG! This is not cheap by any means! But, because of the support of their donors and subscribers - and thanks to their success transferring shows to Broadway - the La Jolla Playhouse is able to put on a production like Yoshimi.
A Broadway run is not guaranteed, but it sure looks good for this show! It still needs work, though, and the Playhouse is the perfect place to do that.
The show is a love story and a death story. In it, the titular character is torn between two men and torn between sickness and health - as she battles for her life against cancer.
The music in Yoshimi is soooooo good! Even if you're not a Flaming Lips fan, you will enjoy it! And, thankfully, Bill Brendle did an amazing job with the orchestrations and Ron Melrose with the music direction! Performing contemporary music that sounds modern in Broadway-type shows can be tricky. But thankfully the Yoshimi team made it seem effortless! They made a 5 piece band sound like a full orchestra, without feeling canned or mechanical.
And the puppets by Basil Twist are out of this world amazing!
The set and the way scenic designer Robert Brill transforms the stage is equally stunning. Such an exquisite use of color!
The book and plot still need some work. For example, Act 1 is super cool but things get schmaltzy and unnecessary cheesily sentimental in Act 2.
Also, there is some brief nudity in Act 1 that is gratuitous and if they removed it, the show would instantly appeal to younger audiences as well. They will be dazzled by the flying robots!
The male lead, Paul Nolan, recently played Jesus in the La Jolla's production of Superstar, which later transferred to Broadway. And while he was good in that show, he lacks the charm needed to pull of the role of Ben in Yoshimi. We would recast him for a Broadway run.
Kimiko Glenn, however, is stellar as Yoshimi!
We can't wait to see this show again and see how it's changed/improved! But a VERY GOOD start for all involved!