Pigs In Wigs [FringeTIX]
Puppet Palace Projects & Pooka Puppets @ Puppet Palace
5:00pm, Sun 14 Feb 2010
I always feel a little wary going to puppet shows that are aimed at kids; as a tubby middle-aged man going to shows alone, I’m afraid that it just screams paedophile.
At least I’m not balding and clinging pathetically to the length of my hair; that’d really finish the look off.
It always feels especially dodgy when I’m the only adult without offspring in a small crowd; luckily, there was little of that to worry about at this performance.
Tony Pedro the Parrot before the show, he proudly announced that the opening crowds have been great thus far. And this performance had about sixty people attending, probably half of them being little’uns. Sixty! That’s bloody brilliant for a puppet show at the best of times; for the opening weekend of The Garden (let alone the Fringe) I reckon that’s exceptional… and it makes me happy :)
The whole reason I wanted to see this show, of course, was the fact that it purported to tell the story of the Three Little Pigs from the wolf’s perspective (as per The True Story of the Three Little Pigs). The wolf is introduced as a genteel character, kind to everyone, and anxious to deliver a birthday cake to his granny. In need of ingredients to complete his recipe, he enquires for some sugar from his three new piggy neighbours. The pigs are shown to be lazy, tight-arsed, and belligerently rude, and apparently it was the wolf’s cold that causes him to accidentally sneeze the first two houses down… before finally being arrested at the panicky behest of the third pig.
The subsequent trial is a bit of a farce with Little Red Riding Hood (announced with blare of dance music, compared to the wolf’s refined string sting) supposedly acting as a character witness for the wolf, before admitting that he had, in fact, eaten her (and her grandmother) in a fairytale previously; in the midst of a media beatup, the wolf is sentenced to 100 years of prison.
Clearly this is not the story of the three pigs you were read as a child.
As previously mentioned, this performance is clearly aimed at children – at least, that’s inferred by the timeslot. However, for myself and the half-dozen sozzled child-free patrons at the back of the Puppet Palace, this was still a bloody funny show. There’s plenty of content that would sail right over the kids’ heads; references to H1N1 and Al-Qaeda being the most overt, but the “left turn at Albuquerque” directions for Red Riding Hood and the use of Yakety Sax during the police chase scene were also delivered with an implicitly knowing wink. The use of Give Peace a Chance as a closer, whilst the pigs take a bow with ham in the background, was brilliant.
Look, this isn’t a perfect show. The later scenes devolve into a cacophony of noise and puppet battery, and the loud tunes that announced the entrance of characters to the stage caused the little girl in front of me to cover her ears – she really didn’t like Red Riding Hood, nor the Plastic Ono Band. And Tony’s ventriloquism leaves a bit to be desired ;)
But you know what? When you’ve got a performance as fun and entertaining and – dare I say it – sneakily mature as this, none of that matters.