On The Fringe: Katsura Sunshine

Katsura Sunshine. Pic: Comp
Katsura Sunshine. Pic: Comp
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KATSURA Sunshine, real name Gregory Robic, is Japan’s very own adopted son. Born in Canada the Rakugo storyteller has had them laughing in the aisles at the New Town Theatre, on George Street, this Fringe, with punchlines that are 400 years in the making.

A minimalistic performance art Rakugo, it features a lone storyteller dressed in kimono, kneeling on a cushion who, using only a fan and a hand towel for props, entertains the audience with a comic monologue followed by a traditional story.

In order to become a storyteller one must undergo a strict traditional apprenticeship for three years, where one is with the Master every waking hour, does housekeeping and chores, and learns the craft slowly through observation and imitation.

There is a canon of several hundred traditional Rakugo stories widely performed today, some as much as 400 years old. Sunshine ’s Master, Bunshi VI, on the other hand, is possibly the most prolific composer of new Rakugo stories in the history of the genre. Sunshine will be performing a mix of traditional stories and his Master’s stories.

What do you do? Comedian and storyteller in Japan and around the world.

Best thing about doing what you do: Enthralling people with the imaginary world I create and in the end, making them laugh out loud. And of course, bringing people a piece of Japan,

Worst moment ever (on stage): We ‘Rakugo’ comic storytellers perform kneeling for up to an hour. One time, my legs lost all sensation and I couldn’t stand up when the show finished.

Worst moment ever (off stage): I always wear a Kimono. Once someone asked me if I was a Sumo Wrestler. I did think I had gained THAT much weight.

Best Edinburgh memory:

When a native showing me around said “every brick of every pub in Edinburgh has more history than Canada.”

Plane or Train? Plane

If you weren’t an entertainer, what would you be? Opera singer - or is that also entertaining?

Who was the last text you received, from?

Friends in London, where we are playing next.

When was the last time you cried? Last week when we got an audience of zero people,

Are you on Twitter? Yes, @katsurasunshine

Sell your show in five words: Smart. Funny. Unique. Japanese.

Katsura Sunshine – Sit Down Comedy Japanese Style, New Town Theatre, George Street, until 24 August, 8pm, £10-£12, 0131-226 0000