Puppet shows arouse in us childhood memories and often ambiguous feelingsof wonder and fear…

Barking Spider Visual Theatrefortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Thursday, 4 February, 2010
Puppet shows arouse in us childhood memories and often ambiguous feelingsof wonder and fear. Bartlau’s production is clever, mesmerising and takesthe viewer through a run of emotions culminating in a recognition of thetruth of death. It follows the story of Sorrel and her quest to returnhome after being stranded on an island in the middle of nowhere. Thetelling of the story is child-like without being childish and engages us asa fable would. The masterful use of the puppet —the lightness of touch,the interplay of puppeteer and puppet, puppet and scenery, lighting andsound — weaves a preternatural story to think and feel back on. Theprops are indicative and signalled both passage and symbol.
On the night, there were moments the lighting and action appeared to ‘miss’each other and mainly in the beginning. Fortyfivedownstairs is a greattheatre space but it was difficult at times to see all of the delicatemovements from the seat in the back row and this reviewer had to strain acouple of times.  Half way through, the narrative was interrupted by abrief Greek chorus stint from one the puppeteers involving a German doctor,a cat and radium — I struggled. The production ends suddenly but thathappens with life and death journeys. Dispatch has a simple beauty anddepth that is worth a second viewing. Highly recommended.
Until 7 February 2010

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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