Sammy J in the Forest of Dreams
Aussie puppeteers pull our strings
This article is from 2009.
The spirit of the Fringe is innovation rather than returning with a proven successful show. But since Heath McIvor (in Randy's Postcards From Purgatory) and Sammy J (in Sammy J: 1999) are also performing their own new shows, we'll forgive the pair behind Forest of Dreams for this financially viable indulgence.
Last year we described this musical as 'like The Muppets performing a Sarah Silverman script' and that still holds. It's one human, 14 puppets and a quest through a magical realm to self-discovery with lots of Disney bashing, genre defiling, expectation bending and profanity along the laughter-sodden way.
With so many aspects to juggle - catchy songs, pacing, multilayered characters that go on emotional journeys despite being made out of cloth, and let's not forget the jokes - the whole comes together so neatly that Simba from The Lion King will be queuing up to audition for a part when he reaches that rebellious stage of craving indie credibility.
What really shines through is the two Aussies' pedigrees as comedians: their ability to riff off each other during prop malfunctions, tricky costume changes and heckles keeps the laughter level high, while their confidence in straying from the script keeps things fresh after so many performances.
So let's stop pretending that we mind them giving us one more chance to see the best musical comedy about puppet fucking ever made.
Udderbelly's Pasture, 08445 458 252, 21 & 22 Aug, 11.45pm; 24-30 Aug, 10.15pm, £12--£14.50 (£10-£12.50).