Edinburgh Fringe 2011
An impressive production where the professionalism and skill of the puppeteers, mixed with innovative use of materials and well-rounded story-line, makes this a highlight of the 2011 Fringe.
Little Cauliflower Theatre Company describe this production as a ‘story about rubbish’, and by the end of the hour long performance, you will certainly look at rubbish in a different way. Set in a rubbish dump where an old man puppet lives, and everything around him is animated, we follow a rather unusual day in his life where he dreams of peace and quiet and tries to get away from it all, going to the extremes of leaving his rubbish dump home, travels on and under water to arrive at a grassy shore, but eventually ends back at home, having realised that the grass isn’t always greener …
Everything, it seems, comes to life in this production … tubing, banana skins, a rubber glove, plastic bags … to disturb the old man puppet, who says not a word, but who is skillfully brought to life, giving us insight into his every thought through the well-executed puppeteering that has been based on the traditional Japanese Bunraku style.
This is impressive. The young team of artists who perform this with energy and conviction, have only recently graduated from University. They have collaboratively devised a piece of theatre suitable for an audience of all ages. A simple storyline advances at a meandering pace, but is punctuated with comical accents throughout, keeping the interest and understanding of children and adults throughout.
Also added into the mix is continuous original live music … mouth-organ, flute, piano accordion and mandolin … and Foley sound effects, all performed where the audience have a clear view. At one memorable point in the performance, the puppet acknowledges the musician who is getting a little carried away in the moment.
Set design and props, all created by the company, have been carefully developed with the use of recycled materials: plastic bottles, bubble-wrap and plastic bags have been engineered into jellyfish, fish and sea-weed; artificial turf remnants crafted into a patchwork style grass mat.
The audience were absorbed throughout except for a couple of slower patches in the story, however the resounding applause (including standing ovation) at the conclusion of the performance, by children and adults alike, assured me that we were all in agreement … this is a beautifully constructed, extremely satisfying piece of theatre, where layers of artistic input have gone into the construction and execution of this story. Highly recommended