BATS Theatre, The Random Stage, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

23/10/2020 - 23/10/2020

TAHI Festival 2020

Production Details

Through the eyes of a talking fish, a magical encounter of two girls across time and oceans tells the story of an eccentric family and their house by the sea.

“A beautiful, funny, tragic and touching show about the endurance of memory in the face of human mortality” – apt613 Ottawa

Fish Saw is a collection of intimate and moving stories told by the Little Girl with Glasses and her best friend, the giant talking fish. Can their unlikely friendship survive the catastrophe that destroyed the town and lives most dear to her?

Based on the true stories of Sachie’s family, Fish Saw is a ‘Miyazaki meets Garcia Marquez’ one-woman show created by Japanese performer/composer, Sachie Mikawa, and Argentine-based American director, George Lewis. The show features original stop-motion animation and musical score.

BATS Theatre, The Random Stage
23 October 2020
Full Price $22 
Group 6+ $20 
Concession Price $18

The Random Stage is fully wheelchair accessible; please contact the BATS Box Office by 4.30pm on the show day if you have accessibility requirements so that the appropriate arrangements can be made. Read more about accessibility at BATS.


TAHI Festival 
This performance is presented as part of and in collaboration with TAHI: New Zealand Festival of Solo Performance.  This five-day festival is dedicated to showcasing Aotearoa’s finest, most engaging solo performance. TAHI gathers soloists from around the nation, and beyond – from established to emerging practitioners – to present work, collaborate and make connections across the industry. Alongside premiering and showcasing solo performances, the Festival provides opportunities for practitioners to extend the life of their performance work, to upskill, and to network through an integrated programme of performance, workshops, and forums. TAHI also seeks to foster relationships among tertiary institutions, actor training courses, secondary schools, BATS Theatre, and industry professionals.

Theatre , Solo ,

1 hr

A universal and specific story skilfully told

Review by Emilie Hope 24th Oct 2020

“Sit close to the front,” I’m told by the BATS staff, “to help the performance.” Don’t worry, there’s no audience interaction in this show, but being physically close to the Random Stage reminds us that it’s okay to be intimate.

Fish Saw, directed by George Lewis, is a fairytale-esque story of a Little Girl with Glasses, her eccentric family, and their Jenga-block style house – with its very own floating room! – by the sea. The Little Girl with Glasses saves a fish from the grill and the two become best friends. The story is interwoven between the two narrators, the friendship spanning years.

Sachie Mikawa is a generous and expressive performer. Her posture and facial expressions are enough to make the audience laugh, as well as her tone of voice. In the moments that are tender, she becomes more heartfelt, which puts a smile in our hearts. Mikawa performs all the characters in the show, namely Little Girl with Glasses both as a young girl and as an older woman, and the fish, called Mr Fish by Little Girl with Glasses.

Mr Fish is the star of the show. What’s not to love about a big sequinned fish who smokes cigars? I eagerly await the moments when Mr Fish would come back on stage. In this way, I almost feel distracted by Mr Fish, especially when much of the show is told by Little Girl with Glasses. I would like to have Mr Fish be more active in the show, especially as they are featured in the title, rather than remaining as a passive character.

Mikawa is a skilled storyteller. She is aware this is a story based in Japan and is being told to a New Zealand audience. She deftly slips in small key pieces of knowledge about the Japanese culture so that we are aware. For example, she let us know that once you become an adult, you wear a kimono. Later in the show, when we see Little Girl with Glasses, we know time had passed because she was wearing a kimono. However, Mikawa choses only one person in the audience to embody Mr Fish as Little Girl with Glasses is relaying her tale. I feel it may feel more inclusive if she had seen the entire audience as Mr Fish, allowing her to focus her more direct speech to Mr Fish in various people around the audience.

The narration style is episodic with title cards appearing on the big white sheet. Cards include: Little Girl with Glasses, The Floating Room, The Heart of Japan, The Hungry Ghost, and Little Pearl. The screen also includes beautiful animation created by Sandra Lía Iurcovich and Andrea Torti, which helps build the world both of Mr Fish and Little Girl with Glasses. The tech elements – the music written by Mikawa and the animation – work together harmoniously to create gorgeous moments of interaction.

I especially enjoy when Mikawa mimes making noodles and then transitions into a beautiful dance. There are a few tech cues that go awry – lights that come on when they shouldn’t, the projection turns off at one point –  but I hope these are a series of small unfortunate mistakes that would have been fixed had there been another performance.

Fish Saw is both universal and specific. It is a Japanese story, something which I find refreshing. It’s also a story about stories, people, and what happens when the sea, a wonderous entity which can give us so much, like friendship, can equally take this away, and more, with a tsunami. Or can it? “Stories we held on to for so long have their own lives now,” Mr Fish tells us, “and maybe we will meet them again. But for now, I say, let them swim! Let them swim! Let them swim!”

Fish Saw is a show I would gladly see swimming back to New Zealand.  


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