Photo by Ashley de Prazer
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre
Directed by Phillip Mitchell
Performed by Jessica Harlond-Kenny, St John Cowcher
Hachiko tells a tale of overwhelming friendship, loyalty and devotion by a dog towards its owner. It shows how having an animal companion brought joy into the life of one professor and, after a tragic event, one dog’s dedication touched the lives of those around him.
Both Harlond-Kenny and Cowcher magically transform the simple, geometrically-shaped puppets into living, breathing creatures. Told in a mix of differing puppetry styles (hand puppetry, 2D puppets, object play and live action) it is presented against a minimal and stylised set evocative of a paper sketch. A few splashes of colour and nods to origami and anime (winks to its Japanese origin) help to tell this delicate tale.
At heart it is a story of coping with loss, told in the most gentle way. It might tug at the heartstrings, but it won’t upset the young ones. Instead the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre creates a show that educates and uplifts.