Devised and Directed: BLind SumMiT Theatre
Music: Lemey and Friedel
Reviewer: Anna Ambelez
Blind SumMiT Theatre are puppetry innovators; innovative is adventurous, fresh, imaginative and inventive, all adjectives that fit the companies work.
The Table is where Moses, the central character lives. He relates a story about God, himself, life, death and puppetry. Moses is a bit of an old cantankerous three man operated puppet, but what a character! He takes you through the last twelve hours of Moses’s life. This piece of history is cleverly interspersed with modern references; Moses writing with fire is likened to a ‘kindle’. He explains the three main elements of puppetry, focus, breathing and fixed point in the most absorbing way, in a ‘focused’ way.
The three visible puppeteers are an integral part of the show, their faces and bodies reacting to the action, conversing and connecting with the puppet.
Mark Down, the director, operates the left hand, head and is also the voice of Moses, an expressive voice that gives the puppet a human quality. Sean Garratt working the right hand and bottom has a period off stage, during which a member of the audience assists to great effect. Irena Strateiva works the feet and having just joined the company, the puppet, excited at her arrival, refers to her as like “having a new pair of shoes”. Even during a blackout, (Richard Howell) the witty humour continues. The three combine to give the immobile cardboard faced puppet a subtle, comedic yet poignant personality, absorbing the audience to the point of forgetting it is a puppet. The original music (Lemez and Friedel) adds to the novel show.
BLind SumMiT was co-founded by Mark Down and Nick Barnes in 1997, when theatre puppetry was a rare event. They aimed to reinvent traditional Japanese Bunraku, the form of traditional Japanese puppet theatre founded in 1684. Since starting they have established a great name and are the team behind the ninety foot Voldemort in the 2012 London Olympic Opening Ceremony. Fringe first winners is just one of their achievements, and this show is recently back from a sell-out USA tour.
Initially it may be difficult to imagine how one table, three puppeteers and one puppet can hold, entertain and connect with an audience, but The Table does. It is rare to hear an audience laugh out loud of the point of crying. Blind SumMiT Theatre are masters of their craft, and if you want an original, absorbing, uniquely hysterically funny evening of theatre, with no strings attached, The Table is a must.
Runs until: March 6th