Famous Puppet Death Scenes
- David Kettle
- 20 August 2018
This article is from 2018
Funny, tragic and thought-provoking theatre wrapped up in wonderfully inventive puppetry
The title says it all, really. From the psychedelic German kids' show Das Bipsy und Mumu Puppenspiel to the rotund everyman in Nordo Frot's The Feverish Heart, by way of a stylised Japanese suicide, the fall of a dictator and masses more, Calgary's Old Trout Puppet Workshop brings together a showcase of the most iconic puppet death scenes in theatre history.
Heard of them? Of course not. They're all invented by Old Trout's master manipulators, in a bewildering succession of episodes, mostly hilarious, but sometimes tragic, poignant, even downright beautiful. Occasionally they dare us to laugh: a cumbersome book, for example, brings us up close to true domestic terror.
This is a very clever show, at once extremely funny in the horribly inventive ways in which Old Trout's puppeteers dispatch their lovingly crafted creations, while also an astute reflection on death itself – its horrors, its comedy, even its simple mundanity. It's breathtaking how much work has gone into Old Trout's dozens of puppet creations, often on stage for just a few moments before their bizarre ends, though inevitably some scenes are stronger than others. For some gleeful mid-evening schadenfreude, and some beautifully delivered puppetry, Famous Puppet Death Scenes is a thought-provoking delight.
CanadaHub @ King's Hall in association with Summerhall, 1-26 Aug (not 6, 13, 20), 8.30pm, £11 (£9).