This puppet show for grown-ups will have you in stitches!
By Claire de Freitas
The idea of being entertained by cheeky singing puppets is not an entirely new concept (who can forget the Tony Award-winning puppet musical Avenue Q?) but the Impromptunes have taken the puppet musicals to a whole new level. There’s no script, there’s no score, there’s not even set characters. In this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival, the Impromptunes are presenting Puppets! The Musical – a completely improvised musical with puppets!
Although the audience was small the night I attended, the troupe of five talented performers had energy in bucketloads. From the moment they came bouncing onto the stage, puppets in tow, I knew they were committed to their craft and we were in for a good night.
To prove that the musical is completely improvised each night, the audience was asked to provide its name. We were given three beats to think of a title and then asked to shout out our ideas in unison. The winning title this evening was ‘The Dangerous Egg.’
Without even taking a moment to brainstorm, the cast began to construct a song and talented pianist David Peake began to accompany them. As the song continued, the cast selected puppet friends from the back of the stage and began to create characters.
For many people (myself included) the idea of improvising a musical is pretty terrifying. I have so much respect for how swiftly and wittily the cast created the characters, scenes and songs, all the while operating puppets and syncing the words with the puppets’ mouths PERFECTLY!
As is often the case with improvisational shows, the story got pretty crazy very quickly. In short, ‘The Dangerous Egg’ ended-up being about a young man named Jeremy who joins the Navy to escape his dull farm life and is put on a mission to rescue the last remaining dinosaur egg from the Nazis. Yep, told you it got pretty crazy.
It’s a well-known rule of improvisational theatre that performers need to always say “yes” to each others’ offers and the Impromptunes in Puppets! The Musical are experts in this. It was amazing to watch how the performers communicated ideas with each other without speaking about them and followed each others’ leads.
If you want to see something funny and fresh for Melbourne Fringe Festival 2015, you don’t want to miss Puppets! The Musical.