A saucy puppet show has certainly become a genre of its own. Even beloved bastion of children’s entertainment, Jim Henson, pitched the Muppets’ pilot at a more adult audience (seriously, it was entitled Sex and Violence). Yet a more adult take on the form of theatre can still hold the power to shock and offend… or titillate and entertain… depending on your point of view. Pupperotica: Foreplay leans into this, creating a show that attempts to shock and enrapture you with ribald entertainment and filthy puppets.
From hummus to tentacle sex, BDSM to an overly social socialist party, Foreplay casts a rather wide net over sensual erotica. This latest iteration of puppet porn from Pupperotica is a collection of songs, audience participation, erotic slash fiction and puppet monologues. It generally makes the best of the Fringe audience, however the first night jitters were certainly on display, with a few line stumbles and sound issues lessening the impact of the show.
Of more concern were those aspects of the show that needed tightening in general, with a couple of the segments needing to be shortened to improve their punch. However the main fault lies in the separation between puppet and puppeteer, especially when there is no attempt made to obscure the operator. As such it is reliant on the performer to project a more distinct personality to the puppet, and to create that wall through acting and characterisation. In its best routines Pupperotica: Foreplay certainly did this, but throughout the show itself, that separation between performer and character was often as thin as five denier stockings.
When that character line was enforced, Pupperotica: Foreplay was on fire. Keren Schlink has a great ear for language, and uses it effectively to either tickle the funny bone or somewhere else. She straddles the line of good taste, and proudly steps over it to the howls of audience laughter. Josh Walker however managed to produce some of the best character moments of the night. Whether it was lurid innuendo from pastie twirling MC, Brad, as he makes an unfortunate slip of the tongue, or the increasingly inappropriate psycho sexual healing of Yusef, it’s challenging, slightly discomforting and hilarious.
In the end Pupperotica: Foreplay might not be a night to remember, but an enjoyable night with no walk of shame afterwards is always a plus.
Photos sourced from facebook.com/pupperotica