Saturday, February 20, 2010
I think the first time I heard about The Grimstones was Sunshine's post about them in the middle of last year... then I realised that I'd missed them in last year's Fringe... *sad face*
Fortunately the show was back this year, so I booked tickets for today's morning performance for Ma and me.
Given how hot and awful the weather is today, I'm glad we booked in for a very early show (and that the tent was somewhat air-conditioned), and it also meant that the crowd for the show was quite small... and somewhat unsurprisingly, included a deaf woman and her kids.
I knew going in that the show was performed by a deaf puppeteer, and honestly, it just adds that extra level of "cool oddness" to this quirky little puppet show...
It's very Tim Burton/Lemony Snicketts/Addams Family actually... and the fact that Asphyxia narrates the show in sign language which her "helper", August, then translates for her just adds that little extra something, but it doesn't feel weird within the confines of the little Grimstones universe. But their little snarky interactions (Asphyxia always wanting to make sure that August is further back on the stage than she is... or not letting August add things to the story) are great fun.
I did like the fact that when they come out onto the blank stage carrying big suitcases that look like books (and it goes without saying that I would LOVE to have luggage that looked like big books), August actually comes out to the audience and shakes people's hands... and since Ma and I were front row centre, I shook hands with her... err... him... okay, slight gender confusion... the character of August is played by Paula, who is a woman (obviously), but August is dressed like a man... so I'm not sure whether the character is a man, or a woman in man's clothing... but anyway...
I wasn't quite sure what was going to happen when the show started, after all the stage was completely blank, but they come out with the big books as I said and throughout the course of the show, the books/suitcases get opened, and the world of the Grimstones just unfolds.
There's actually a seven minute trailer for the show on YouTube...
They're both exceptional puppeteers... there are any number of tiny little details that the puppets do, from crying to breathing that just feel so real, especially when they don't have dialogue... and like with many of the other puppet shows we've seen of late, at certain points you actually don't pay attention to anything other than the puppets themselves.
I was also impressed with the use of magnets in the puppets hands (and I'm guessing other parts) that allowed them to do certain things in certain spots... very clever.
There were only two minor downsides to the show... the first is that either the level on August's microphone was a bit too low or the music was a bit too loud, but the dialogue got a touch overshadowed once or twice... and the other downside that it was only an hour long.
And having read Sunshine's post I knew there was a question and answer session at the end, but given that the audience was so small, there really weren't that many questions.
Ma also ended up buying the book all about the making of the show...
I was also very happy to hear that Asphyxia is currently working on a sequel, all about Mortimer Grimstone and how he died... and we're DEFINITELY going to have to go and see that one!
Two very enthusiastic thumbs up... and absolutely one you should go and see!