Our Theatre
ZOO Charteris

This is quite a novel form of life-sized puppetry blended with physical theatre. The puppeteers provide the legs and the movement, while sporting black to conceal their heads and upper bodies. The torso and head of the puppet is attached to them from the waist up. The movement is very good and I’m sure that in a more intimate space the puppet work could be quite engaging.

However, this theatre doesn’t help them create the illusion necessary. The tribune is steeply raked and the higher up you are seated the more you look down on the heads of the puppeteers in black. The overhead lighting casts shadows on the puppets' faces unless they are tilted upwards. The table and stools so central to the action are blocked from view by the heads of spectators in front.

The show itself presents us with three old men and a overly buxom and stereotypical female care worker who also doubles as the angel who checks them into Heaven at the end. There isn’t a great deal of substance and at first it falls into Benny Hill scenarios of dirty old men dropping things so that they can look up the skirts of the care worker as she bends down to pick them up, and other sundry ploys to get her up close.

There is a power game going on between the men, one of them seemingly the care home’s version of a mafioso. The spoken text is mostly in Italian supported by gestures, which slows down the action considerably.

So, the old men vye with each other for the care worker's attention, dance, dream of the past, drink coffee and go to Heaven.

Reviewer: Jackie Fletcher

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