Tag Archives: puppets

Taking the waters

Taking the Waters

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.


Production details:

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






Impromptunes presents Puppets! The Musical

As part of the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival
Butterfly Club, Friday 18th September 2015

I had seen this show coming up and was interested in it as there was a performer in the troupe I had been meaning to see but hadn’t gotten around to seeing her. As it turned out she is going to be in the later run of shows.

I also booked tickets to six sessions of the Jim Henson season at ACMI at the same time as I booked a ticket for this show so I would be prepared. For some reason I was looking on the ABC shop site and saw that Sooty and Sweep puppets were going on sale the week I wanted to go to the show so I decided to buy a Sweep puppet the day of the show.

Sweep and I

As the show wasn’t due to start until 7pm I did my usual walk from work to the LuWOW in Fitzroy, only to find that Sweep had escaped from my bag on the way. Taking the tram back to the Carlton Gardens where I thought I left him I saw him out the tram window placed up on someone’s fence and ran back to grab him.

Sweep! What are you doing there?

I did finally get to have a Mai Tai or two at the LuWOW but not as many as I would like, probably lucky or I would have heckled the show with Sweep’s squeak. As it was I promised I would not squeak during the show to the musical director when I went in to sit down.


Sweep and I at the Butterfly Club

The premise of the show is that the audience suggests and idea and the show is improvised based around that idea including the music which is made up on the spot. I have seen Spontaneous Broadway which is somewhat of a similar concept, but that did not have puppets.

Such as my want I sat in the front row, may not have been the best idea as the performers were not mic’ed up and were trying to reach the back row so the intensity was a bit above what I was comfortable with. I am not sure if they were deliberately doing that to make the show funnier or not.

I had no problem with the songs that they made up or the story. It is a shame that there are no matinee shows as I would recommend this show to kids as there did not seem to be any swearing or adult concepts on the night I attended.

It was just the piano doing the music, but I thought it worked quite well and there did not seem to be any gaps when the songs started. I know a lot of professional musicians who write songs and spend a long time on it so making things up on the spot would be a lot harder.

Of the performers I would have to say that I enjoyed the women in the group the most just because there were more of them. I would like to see some of them in the show again and may do so when the other person I know comes back to do her run at the end of the festival.

It is a great show and I would recommend going to see it alongside the Jim Henson program at ACMI or in between sessions.
I did get to talk to two of the performers after the show and got a photo with the Sweep puppet I bought along, which was great.

Sweep and Impromptunes performers

Getting dinner on the way home