The Old Man is a hundred years old. He likes cucumbers. He gets very upset if things are not returned to their proper place. And today he is preparing to retire forever.
The above pretty much sums up the entire plot (and most of the action) in this Bulgarian puppet show for adults. Fast paced it isn’t. Rather it is a gentle, poignant exploration of memory and decay.
The script takes the form of a dialogue between the beautifully crafted Old Man and puppeteer and storyteller Ruben Gavanozov. Gavanozov’s characterisation of the Old Man is excellent as is his timing and ability to switch freely between his two roles.
Unfortunately this production suffers from one major flaw: the venue. It’s a small room and the cabaret-style seating means that with a sell-out crowd (as it was for this performance), the visibility for those towards the back of the room is frustrating, to say the least. A good puppeteer, as Gavanozov undoubtedly is, is a master of subtlety, and certainly many of the nuances of his performance here will not be visible beyond the front row.
This show is well worth a look if you fancy a well-crafted, bittersweet reflection on the decline of one elderly puppet. Just make sure to get there early and sit at the front.
5-29 Aug 1700 (1800) @ Zoo Southside