REVIEW: The Lichtenstein Nursing Home Massacre

More puppet blood!

By Christine Moffat

This rollicking Punch-and-Judy-inspired puppet show is an entertaining little murder mystery.  Billed as a 60-minute show, on preview night it clocked in at closer to 90 minutes.

The puppeteers run the entire show in the dark from behind the set, and I think the technicalities involved needed a bit more breaking in.  The show suffered from the delays, as the gaps where the audience faced a quiet, darkened stage strung out the plot, and frequently diminished the suspense that the puppeteers continually worked very hard to create.  In a more serious show this would have been disastrous, but as this show is designed to be a lot of horrible fun, it managed to keep the audience engaged.

The crowd at Lemony S Puppet Theatre are very skilled at creating atmosphere, and the show benefited from many a foggy, suspenseful night scene.  What you see and what you don’t is always a tantalising element of a whodunit, and this was particularly well staged and performed.  I loved the novel way that we were made privy to the view through a character’s binoculars.  The audience is also provided with individual binoculars so that we can enjoy the detailed interactions between characters.  Use these especially for the fabulous mad scientist’s lair, which provides a lot of chuckles, plus a few clues.

Part B movie, part gruesome medieval puppet show; be prepared for a bit of mystery solving and a good laugh. Despite the long running time the show delivered almost everything it promised.  This is a well-written show, with a fabulously tied-in sound and music scheme, and the puppeteers were fantastic.  It appears a little rough around the edges, but I got the sense that this was deliberate.  It’s ripped like a cool kid’s pair of jeans.

The show was full of intrigue, adult content, including plenty of saucy puppet quickies, and lots of murders.  The only thing it did not deliver enough of was blood, “more puppet blood!” I say.  If you have ever watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show and wondered what sort of puppet show Dr Frank-N-Furter would write; book a ticket to The Lichtenstein Nursing Home Massacre and enjoy the ride.

28th September – 7th October for Melbourne Fringe Festival

Thu, Sat, Sun 6:30pm | Wed, Fri 8:30pm (Tue performance 6:30 Oct 2)

La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond Street, Carlton


Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Concession

Performed and created by Jacob Williams, Kirstian Bagin and Tim Denton with Sarah Kreigler

Written by Sarah Kreigler and John Paul Fischbach

Sound design by Steph O’Hara