mochi man

The Little Mochi Man

The Patrick Centre

Birmingham Hippodrome


This will not be a long review. Why? Because it would not be in the spirit of The Little Mochi Man to give it one. Like the Mochi it talks of, TLMM is small and perfectly formed.

Following the journey of the littlest Mochi ball who leaves home for adventure after being bullied by the other bigger Mochi balls it is an endearing story of friendship, kindness, acceptance and generosity.

The journey takes the audience from the snowy moutains of Hokkaido, to the noisy streets of Tokyo via the sea, the sky and Mount Fuji.

Inspired by the traditions of Shogatsu (Japanese New Year celebrations) the tale itself is intimately told through a variety of mediums - song, dance, animation, and ‘origami’ puppetry. It manages to gently and subtly explain Mochi and it’s importance within Japanese culture without patronising it’s young audience.

The two leads - Haruka Kuroda (of CBeebies, CBBC and Gorillaz fame) and Natsumi Kuroda do a fantastic job of playing all the different characters on the journey as they deftly transport the audience to Japan.

Such was their skill at transporting us that large numbers turned around in their seats to look at the Mount Fuji they were pointing to at the back of the theatre.

A Thousand Cranes and Arts depot have done a fantastic job at putting on a small show with a big heart. With ticket deals for families - the Hippodrome had one adult and three children, or two adults and two children for £30, this represents excellent value for money. At approximately 50 minutes in length, parents need not worry about children getting too fidgety - those in my showing were utterly spellbound.

As an extra bonus there were Mochi themed crafts available before and after the performance and it summed up the show’s heart that Haruka and Natsumi both thanked the audience members in person as the audience filed out of the theatre.

It was a genuine end to a genuinely lovely production, if you have children aged between 4-7 this is highly recommended;  written and directed by Vicky Ireland  there are ten more stops on the tour. Details below.

Theo Clarke


* Mochi are sticky, round buns made of soft and chewy rice traditionally eaten as part of Japanese New Year celebrations

A Thousand Cranes  

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