The Garyhaus Players are either a group of supremely clever and terribly well balanced individuals or a bunch of absolute nutters and, to be honest, I know where my money goes and it’s not on them being well-balanced! What kind of people would put together a puppet show, making sure that each of the creations has a back story, and then use scientific theory as the topic to be presented?
I am also not sure exactly who is responsible for hunting out new Fringe locations and venues, but today I find myself deep down underneath the ultra camp Regency Tavern, complete with pianist tinkling the ivories of a baby grand piano, and crossing the courtyard, only then to shuffle into, what appears to be, a small disused wine cellar.
At the far end of the room is a chest-high black counter behind which stand three people. Naomi Oppenheim, Sam Fox and Lori Hopkins will be responsible for bringing the characters to life, with Tye McGivern sitting to the side of the counter, almost like a human link between the audience and the puppet world. All the puppets have names and it is they, not the puppeteers, who play the characters in the story.
Most of the puppets are the traditional style of hand puppet, all with very carefully crafted, and fairly detailed, heads. Another puppet is simply a tennis ball with a mouth cut into it but the final puppet is much larger and more like the creatures seen in Avenue Q. The larger puppet actually plays four separate characters throughout the piece which, as well as teaching us some fairly complex scientific theories, also takes a firm dig at the political world.
The puppeteers, as seems to be the fashion today, do not attempt to hide and, as they voice the puppets, there is no attempt at ventriloquism with lips moving quite readily. Even so, attention stays firmly fixed on the puppets rather than the operators, and all the creations develop wonderful personas of their own.
The show is short, at just over 45 minutes, but is tremendously funny and entertaining with some fantastically silly moments throughout. The audience stays totally engaged and, at the end, the enthusiastic applause is for both the puppeteers and the puppets themselves.