Arriving at The Rattlesnake Saloon on Lygon Street, there is a queue out the door. Eventually we are led through a corridor, like a speakeasy entrance to a back room, possibly an old Bordello for the Puppet Jam performance.
Directed by Philip Millar and performed by Allanah Safarin, Ben Anderson, John Clarke, Jhess Knight, Jess Davie, Jet Phoenix, Anna Thompson and special guests, we are entertained by a variety of different puppets – from glove puppets to knee puppets, marionettes, human puppets, finger puppets and a giant speaking jar of jam, there is never a dull moment in this show of surprises.
The fun begins with poetry and wordplay about 'ghosties who eat toasties' and attack the jam jar on a full moon. There is a giant rat who performs cabaret, a couple who go on a movie date with a tragic ending, a deadly snake wrangler who succumbs to a venomous white tail. A giant world wearing boots dances for us and couple of drag queens take over the catwalk and strut their stuff. There's a great soundtrack to keep the audience clapping along, and an amazing Kate Bush performance.
How many humans does it take to manage one puppet?
Sometimes up to three or four human puppeteers. It takes great skill to manipulate many moving parts and create dialogue, sound and movement and The PuppetSmithery is a well-oiled machine.
The work of The PuppetSmithery is both mesmerising and chaotic as we experience new worlds with unique problems and uncanny solutions only puppets could solve for mere earthlings.
It's a great night of fun as Puppet Jam pushes the boundaries from the silly to sublime. You can't get more Fringe than a puppet show with elements of circus, cabaret and burlesque. So head along and watch human try and control puppet behaviour!