The Table - A Review by Megs Slark
When faced with attending a show of ‘Extreme Puppetry’, I really had no idea what to expect, as I’d never seen anything by Blind Summit, Soho Theatre and the 2012 International Mime Festival all rolled into one performance.
Three men operated a brilliantly expressive small male puppet, made of curtains and cardboard. I’ve never witnessed such honesty inside such a lie as I did tonight. This stunning illusion of a character, who stood on a table for an hour and a half, talking with such truth about the reality of his situation, was something I’ve never experienced before. Without even moving his feisty middle-aged mouth, he taught us all about the rules of puppetry, despite sometimes breaking the rules of not tilting the puppet’s head
too much and not distributing weight correctly to the puppet’s limbs. The humour was witty and well placed, despite falling through and becoming awkward on some rare occasions.
The lighting was subtle, slotting well into the show without distracting. The sole human actress wore a monochrome costume that gave off a sense of not being thought through but when she changed into a whole black ensemble, becoming a different character for the encore, she really shone alongside the three puppeteers. The script was very well written for the puppet character that we bonded so emotionally with, and shockingly well remembered by one of the three performers controlling him.
Despite all of my above description portraying a performance very much worth watching due to its great laughs and gasp-worthy illusions, the real magic began when things went wrong.
Just after half way through the performance, disaster struck. The puppet’s right hand flew off, landing half way across the stage. We knew. They knew. How could they turn this around and get us back on side? We didn’t have time to wait for an answer as the puppeteers were already improvising their way out of the situation. With animated movement and hysterical speech, the puppet began its journey to reclaim its lost limb. It was for these ten golden minutes of improvisation that I almost cried with laughter, absolutely falling in love with the show. It was almost a shame when his hand was returned and they dove back into the rehearsed storyline.
But by this time, I was convinced. This cast, puppet and all, have incredible potential, and I can’t wait for them to start another project, as I’ll be there, ready to sabotage it, just to I can witness the same hilarity as I did tonight.
“You have to review that? Good luck. “ Audience Member
Date Posted: Tuesday 12 June 12