Sing for Your Life

Charlie Tuesday Gates

The Vault

Underbelly, Cowgate

From 06 August 2015 to 30 August 2015

Rating: *****

Review by Graeme Strachan

As far as gimmicks go, doing a puppet show entirely with the taxidermied bodies of dead animals is pretty novel, even for the Edinburgh Fringe.

It's a good idea, but without a good story behind it, that's all it would be, an exploitative novelty. Luckily, Charlie Tuesday Gates's musical Sing For Your Life manages to yank itself free from the idea alone with a brilliantly funny script and some great parodies of classic songs.

When a small handbag dog is unceremoniously left outside by his socialite owner, he befriends a musical badger and fox who run a cabaret show from the bottom of the garden. From here, he stems the excuse to turn the show into a series of song and dance numbers, as the capable company puppets everything from a semi-paralysed cat, to a troupe of squirrels and a stripper Mink (try not to think about it too hard).

There's certainly an argument that more than a little inspiration here has come from the recent TV comedy puppet show Mongrels, but that's a minor quibble, as the characters all get a chance to shine in their peculiar and grotesque fashion.

The audience were practically rolling in the aisles with laughter throughout, especially at one stage when a tooth fell out of the mouth of one of the puppets. There lies the best advice I can give you: make a point of seeing this show, and do it fast, before the props decompose.