The comedy festival has long since left us, relatively speaking, considering the magnanimity of those three weeks, but some of its (good) remnants still linger on. Last night, I chanced upon a very limited extended season of The Cautionary Tale of Barry Von Peabody and the Scarlet St Theatre showing in a little tent in La Mama’s courtyard.
Since Melbourne Uni decided to crush the only Puppeteering course in the Southern Hemisphere, offered by VCA, back in 2009, puppets have sadly begun to disappear from my periphery (with the exception of a scattering of children’s puppet theatres.) Fortunately, Jacob Williams is touring this magical show that conjures up the child in all of us.
If you’d like to be entertained by a lick of good ol-fashioned proscenium theatre, (and have found that The Plague Dancers at the Malthouse is, indeed, sold out,) complete with those lovable sashaying cutout waves, 50’s spinning newspaper montages – in 3D, no less- and a wild melange of adorable characters, go and see it.
The awe is really in the painstaking detailing of each smaller-than-pint-sized set, prop and costume. Gargoyles perch upon the gilded proscenium arch, while each puppet is dressed thoughtfully, and sometimes sparklingly, down to the flourish of the flower on the carefully rolled lapel of Barry Von Peabody’s suit jacket.
The show has enjoyed a sell-out season during the MICF, having to turn excited audiences away. There are two shows left; today and tomorrow. And a capacity of 17 per show. Get ye down to La Mama quickly!