By Lemony S Puppet Theatre
Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre, Thursday 28th November 2019
You want an objective review of this show, go someplace else. Critical distance = NONE! I cried as soon as the show started. There is a specific notice in the show’s publicity that it deals with death and themes around the end life.
I was surprised when Suzannah announced she was going to be part of this show as she had kept it pretty close to her chest and I try to keep on top of things my creative friends are doing so I can work out my schedule. I remember Suzannah commenting on my own post about people not scheduling things far enough in advance these days.
While I am familiar with the Muppets and other puppet theatre, I have not seen that much about more adult-oriented puppets and I don’t mean Peter Jackson’s infamous “Meet the Feebles”. There are two types of puppets in the show. The life sized puppet and the shadow puppets used to depict some scenes.
From the interview on RRR I did not know Suzannah was going to be doing more music and that she was going to be acting in it also. It is a treat as she is not doing that many gigs apart from the Cartridge Family as it makes her too nervous.
Special mention must go to the AUSLAN interpreted session I went to as I really wanted to see Suzannah sing, but also wanted to see what the interpreters were doing as when am I going to see that again?
I do not want to spoil what goes on in the play but it does concern the palliative care of big sister Duck with her sister Chook (Fiona Macleod) and musician Maggie (Suzannah Espie) who has come to help as she was begged to. The visiting nurse (Tamara Rewse) pops in from time to time and always refuses a cup of tea as she has “had six already”.
Despite the emotions on display there are also some funny scenes like Maggie dumping the cutlery out of the bench repeatedly and pretending to fold washing every time Chook comes home. Also the scene where they end up dumping the lasagne in the bin as they “fucking hate lasagne”. Just turn the light off and pretend you are not home, I swear this only happened one time.
Even though it is only the one room for the set I thought it does look realistic as the kitchen/dining room is where most of interactions happen in a house. Was like at my parent’s house, only strangers come to the front door, everyone who knew us went to the side.
The use of Suzannah’s songs in this is excellent as I have always thought they could be used to support a narrative. Special mention must go to the songs written especially for the show as this will be most likely the only time those will be performed.
The show has almost finished its’ run, but a little birdy tells me it will be having a longer season next year at a larger venue.
After the show I got to talk to Suzannah and also Tamara who said they did research in hospitals and around palliative care. I did also talk to Tamara about my mum being a nurse and that her performance seemed pretty true to life.
I did ask a lot of people if they were coming to this show and shared around the link for ticketing. It is a busy time of year though and hopefully it will get more people in the extended run next year.
Writer/director & co-creator– Sarah Kriegler
Co-creator – Jacob Williams
Dramaturg & co-creator – Ben Grant
Set, costume & Duck puppet designer– Yvette Turnbull
Shadow puppetry designer & construction – Kyoko Imazu
Sound designer – Marco Cher-Gibard
Lighting designer – Rachel Burke
Composition/performer & co-creator– Suzannah Espie
Performer – Fiona Macleod
Performer/puppeteer/puppet maker – Tamara Rewse
Producer – Erin Milne (Bureau of Works)
Promotion photography – Sarah Walker