FRINGE REVIEW – The Table

*****


Blind Summit Theatre are performing their puppet show in a time slot traditionally reserved for cabaret and comedy. It’s a daring move when hardened Fringe-goers can be tired and jaded after a day of shows. But Blind Summit’s confidence would appear to be justified as the audience at this preview performance are visibly mesmerised throughout.

The Table is a loosely connected triptych of tales inspired by Beckett and showcasing some truly impressive puppetry. First off is the story of “Moses”, a Japanese Bunraku puppet trapped on a table. Moses may only be a couple of feet tall, but he requires three expert puppeteers to control him. And all four give a virtuoso performance, demonstrating some of the nuts and bolts of their craft and imbuing Moses with a personality, subtlety and poignance which entirely belies his immobile cardboard face.

The central segment in the triptych was faster paced and less character-driven, involving a crowd of masks and hands which romp and play in and out of three picture frames. It is visually stunning and
technically impressive, but seemed slightly out of place alongside the other stories.

The final piece is a bit of “French puppetry” which shows another aspect to the previous “Moses” story. One would not normally think of sheets of paper as puppets, but here simple sketches emerge from a
briefcase to tell a story. The four cast members choreograph their movements with impressive precision to create a sort of living comic strip which must be seen to be believed.

There is a lot of puppetry on the Fringe, but The Table should be your first stop. Blind Summit are unquestionably the masters of their art.

3-28 Aug (not 15) 2200 (2300) @ Pleasance Dome

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