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Yoshimi Electrifies

The new musical at La Jolla Playhouse—and its robots—light up the stage

La Jolla Playhouse's "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots"

Photo Courtesy of La Jolla Playhouse

LaMae Capares as “Karate Girl” with robots in La Jolla Playhouse’s world-premiere production of YOSHIMI BATTLES THE PINK ROBOTS.


There was a palpable excitement in the air on opening night of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, a new world-premiere musical at La Jolla Playhouse based on the music of the Flaming Lips. Maybe it was the space-age music playing in the theater before curtain—or that the Lips were rumored to be in the house. But I had chills. And they didn’t go away until the end of Act 2.

A few things I loved:

  1. The set design, especially the spinning 3-D planet in lieu of a curtain, and the heartbeat and stock tickers that moved in rhythm with the percussion.   
  2. The flying, dancing, and singing robots. Absolutely electric. The visual effects in one of the first act battle sequences will blow your mind.
  3. Yoshimi’s drop-kick jiu jitsu-ish moves. She is seriously bad-A!
  4. The theme song, by the Flaming Lips, from their 2002 album entitled Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. “Yoshimi! Yoshimi!” (In three-part harmony, of course.) I can’t get it out of my head.
  5. The subject matter. Fair warning: It’s a cancer story, so it’s very sad, but dealt with in a way that feels appropriate and emotionally charged. In this regard, it feels like a budding Rent.

I could go on, but instead, here’s what the critics are saying:

Read James Herbert’s review for the U-T.

Read Angela Carone’s preview for KPBS.

In short, make like Yoshimi and drop kick your way through the box office crowd to get tickets. Shows are selling out fast!

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