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Friday, March 28, 2008

Kings of eccentric theater spoof late-'70s 'Gorenja'

Staff writer

Saru Kingu (Monkey King), a theater group comprising members of Japanese comedy group Super Eccentric Theater along with various special guests, offers up its latest production this week in Tokyo.

News photo
New "superheores" spoof a popular late-1970s TV series in the latest production by the theater group Saru Kingu.

"Nekketsu Sentai Goenja (Hot-Blooded Strike Force Goenja)" is a spoof on the popular TV series "Himitsu Sentai Gorenja (Secret Task Force Gorenja)" that ran from 1975 to 1977. The original show followed a group of five Spandex-clad superheroes as they fought bad guys and generally saved the day, and "Nekketsu Sentai Goenja" visits a similarly named band of superheroes as they grow long in the tooth.

While they remain unbeaten, time has been cruel, and a generation of younger, better-looking superheroes are stepping up as the new guardians of the world. The group has fallen apart. What will happen to them? And what will happen to Earth?

Super Eccentric Theater formed in 1979 and has earned a strong reputation with its musical action comedies, combining storytelling with song, dance, acrobatics and comedy.

The Saru King offshoot has been in operation since 2005, and its special guest for this production is Genki Nishiaki, star of TV show "Friend Park," where contestants undertake wacky challenges in the vein of "Takeshi's Castle."

You can expect a little singing, a little dancing and a whole lot of action from this offbeat production.

The short run, which opens April 1 at Shimokitazawa "Geki" Sho-Gekijo in Tokyo, is all but sold out. However, due to popular demand, an extra show has been added on April 6 at 5 p.m., and the 3,800 tickets (available from Lawson and Ticket Pia) are expected to go quickly.

For more information, call Super Eccentric Theater at (03) 3420-2897 or visit www.set1979.com.

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