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Three Good Wives

Inkfish
Little Angel Theatre
(2010)

Publicity photo

The idea of using puppetry to entertain adults sounds intriguing and Handspring showed how well it can be done when they collaborated with the National Theatre on War Horse, still going strong at the New London Theatre 2½ years after its debut on the South Bank.

At the Little Angel Theatre in Islington, New York-based company Inkfish attempt to explore the lives of the wives of men at war in an hour-long show that supplements simple puppetry with a soundscape, video, song and movement.

A trio of actresses using a remarkably slow tempo visualise tales that are apparently inspired respectively by Penelope from Homer's Odyssey, Mandodari from the Ramayana and Scheherazade from The Arabian Nights.

It is hard to have to say it but this is one of those occasions where the meaning lies entirely with the director and her actresses and is hardly conveyed at all to the audience.

With no text and few images, spectators are left to fathom out the stories with the assistance of a director's note on the front of the programme but little else.

Along the way, a machine gun is made out of paper, voices of presumably real wives recount the difficulty of seeing their men go off to war and puppets controlled by rods are utilised together with television footage from war zones.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher