Legendary actor, and Star Trek veteran George Takei, stars in a new show that is fascinating, moving and brilliant.
‘Allegiance’, now playing at London’s Charing Cross Theatre, is basically the story of Takei’s life. At the age of five, in 1941, Takei and his family were sent to an internment camp right after Japan bombed Pearl Harbour; they lost everything, and were held for years. Takei says it has been his mission to tell his story, and ‘Allegiance’ is his story, and while he didn’t write it, the show is his.
A story set to music, with a book by Marc Acito, Jay Kuo, and Lorenzo Thione, and music and lyrics by Kuo, ‘Allegiance’ consists of a cast of 16, mostly Japanese actors, and with a fantastic Telly Leung as Sammy, a young man on the cusp of adulthood. Aynrand Ferrer is great as Sammy’s sister Kei. Along with their dad Tatsuo (Masashi Fujimoto) and grandpa Sam (Takei), their lives are disrupted, and uprooted when America gets involved in WWII after Japan bombed Pearl Harbour. They get moved into the camp where life will never be the same. Sammy is desperate to enroll as a soldier to prove that he is loyal to America, yet still feels his father resents him because his mother died giving birth to him. But their lives are changed forever, especially as Sammy falls for nurse Hannah and Kei falls for a man at the camp.
Without it giving too much away, ‘Allegiance’ is cleverly bookended by the main character (Takei) and how his life became what it is and what it was. It’s a magnificent journey for the audience, all the songs resonate and relate to the story, and all the actors are excellent. Thanks George for bringing this to London, and I highly recommend everyone who reads this to go see it.
‘Allegiance’ is playing until April 8, 2023
Review by Tim Baros