It's a Puppet!
By Ben Bunce
Here at ATG we managed to catch the last leg of the Avenue Q Tour as they paid a special visit to the New Wimbledon theatre in London. Needless to say, It was thumbs up all round and to top it off, we even got the chance to have a picture with the cast, and of course the puppets...Yay!
In a nutshell, all principle characters of Avenue Q
are puppets which are brought to life by the cast. The story is set in a shabby New York apartment block and over all delivers a pretty heart warming message reminding us that life isn't always as bad as it seems and that we are all special in our own way. Thanks for the reminder Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez!
In terms of puppetry, you have to see it to believe it! As the story takes place on stage, you'll be surprised at how "real" the puppet characters are and how credible they become as "people" of Avenue Q
. Hats off for that!
As cast members play multiple characters, switch puppets and run around changing roles so quickly this show really is puppetry royalty. For those who like a good old laugh and a bit of cynical humour, Avenue Q
ticks all the boxes! Beware though; leave political correctness at the door!
Inspired by the awesomeness of puppets, here are a few other shows that get our vote for brilliant puppet work...
One for the animal lovers! The tear jerking War Horse
tells the story of a beautiful friendship between a young boy and a young horse, set during the First World War. The characters of the show are played by actors, but all animals including the main horse Joey are puppets, controlled by the incredible puppeteers of the cast. With life size horses galloping across the stage, birds flying above your head in the auditorium and an angry farmyard goose on wheels, this show will take you back to life on the farm in 1914.
The ear twitching, tail flicking, shivering and even breathing of the animals is performed so well that you will forget you are watching puppets and feel completely engrossed in the story.
As you would expect it; the puppets in Shrek
are larger than life...literally! In fact to get a good idea, think glitter, lashes and glamour. Based on the DreamWorks film this show is full of quirky characters and magical creatures. One of which being a giant purple dragon believe it or not! The glamorous pink monster is by no means pocket sized but reflects technical wizardry as it features clever animatronics such as glowing eyes for special effects on stage. Brandon Hardy's clever design is beast of a prop and you'll even get to see it fly on stage during its number.
Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty
If you fancy a bit of dance and enjoyed Bourne's Swan Lake then this gothic version of Sleeping beauty
is cracker! As the curtain goes up on Act one, you'll hear a very obvious "awwww" sound coming from the audience and before you know it you'll spot a young, adorable, crawling Aurora who seems to be causing chaos in the royal palace. Is that a real baby you'll think to yourself!? No, Bourne and Brotherston portray here the young sleeping beauty herself in her early years with an extremely realistic puppet on sticks controlled by three puppeteers from the cast. The cute puppet takes centre stage for a short while only but sets the tone well and gives the audience a good idea of Aurora's slightly wild character traits. A nice, uplifting way to start a dark and mysterious show! Let's face it, New Adventures
never fail to impress.