Edinburgh Fringe 2017

Puppet Fiction

Present Company Live

Genre: Puppetry

Venue: Laughing Horse @ The Counting House


Low Down

“The award-winning cult show from New Zealand returns to the Edinburgh Fringe with more miniature madness and mayhem. Combining the joy of live puppetry with an iconic piece of pop culture makes for a unique and hilarious theatrical experience.”


Inspired by the award winning film Pulp Fiction, this puppet show by Present Company Live from New Zealand is homage to the filmmakers, and to pop culture. Right from the start the atmosphere is intriguing: Puppeteers working the two main marionette characters (played by John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in the film) wear stylish dark suits, crisp white shirts with dark ties, and speak with gritty accents. A small set comprising two tiny sofas transform into other objects and scenes, and the gangster talk from Vincent and Jango, is fast and furious. Seedy characters appear and disappear, punctuated by car rides through town and fascinating conversation.

The puppets are marionettes, 40cm tall with strings. Three puppeteers are in full view as they bring several characters to life by pulling their strings to make them move and gesture together with sharp comedic timing. Characters are drawn from the famous film and recreate edgy moments, catchphrases, with the company’s own spin of wit, spontaneity and local references.

An interesting element is the digital screen backdrop of the little stage, which changes images several times during the show. It’s a very clever prop and offers a variety of locations as well as a high tech juxtaposition to the hand crafted materials and finely sculpted heads of the marionettes.

Jon Coddington, known as a master puppet maker created and built the quirkily lifelike puppets, which are light, springy and alive, suggesting a presence with subtle breathing, even when standing still, no mean feat in puppetry!

Time flies by in this fifty-five minute show because of the energetic performances of the puppeteers and their skill manipulating the puppets, while speaking the fast paced dialogue, changing characters and accents so effectively. If things go a tad awry, this company is controlled chaos and the performers are very adept at adjusting on the fly, adding more humour.

A line spoken by one of the characters in the show “Personality goes a long way” is insightful because it is the vibrant personalities of the puppet characters and the dynamic puppeteers that make Puppet Fiction work so well. It’s an entertaining, tongue in cheek, creative and fun show that will certainly appeal to fans of the film and pop culture. What’s more it’s part of Freefestival. Sit close to the action – or watch on the large screen above, which gives a wonderful stop motion animated effect because the strings don’t show, it’s quite special.

A fascinating aspect of the show is its interactivity. While we may remember what this meant when watching childhood puppet shows, Puppet Fiction has several inventive ways to help everyone connect – to find out go and see Puppet Fiction.