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Edinburgh Fringe 2022

Famous Puppet Death Scenes

Old Trout

Genre: Comedy, Puppetry, Storytelling

Venue: Assembly Roxy


Low Down

The internationally acclaimed Old Trout return to Edinburgh Fringe, with this visually appealing and brilliantly creative massacre of tiny people. Highly skilled puppetry is weaved with story-telling, audience members’ heart strings are tugged, you will find yourself, at times surprisingly, caring about the fate of what hitherto appeared to be inanimate objects…


The set conjures up theatre from a bygone era. A wooden puppetry gantry with a variety of red and white curtains seems to bring to mind Victorian/Edwardian times. The use of surtitles before each scene creates the sense of the silent movie age. A series of performances are played out, with the inevitable denouement of puppets meeting their demise in a series of ways, breathtaking in creativity. At times reminiscent of Monty Python, Spitting Image, The Goodies, The Young Ones and more, yet this is a show unlike anything this reviewer has seen. The puppets take a variety of forms, ranging from human life-sized to a leaf. The three performers are highly skilled, having painstakingly honed their craft. The use of music to punctuate the scenes is carefully considered. It is all truly impressive.

Puppets are at first glance inanimate objects. However, they are brought to life by the performers, so that the audience bears witness to a range of emotions and personality traits : aspirations, pettiness, jealousy, fear, ego,  competitiveness, naivety, celebration, sorrow, sadness, loss and, of course, love. The scenes often surprise, employing classical dramaturgical devices : bathos, irony, pathos. You believe the relationships between the puppets. There are monsters, a haunting  grim reaper and a variety of everyman. The audience are taken on a never predictable journey between light and shade, comedy and tragedy. You root for the puppets, you feel their emotions and, despite the inevitability of their demise, you hope they succeed.

The final scene is beautifully executed and visually particularly appealing. Some scenes, as you may expect, land more forcefully with the audience than others. At times, the pace was a little over-deliberate and energy was temporarily lost. This aside, Old Trout have delivered a potentially brilliant piece of creative work.