La Vie Dans Une Marionette


Gilded Balloon at the Museum

It’s ten-thirty in the morning and we’re feeling slightly hung over from the excesses of the night before… so what better way to start off the day than with a bit of traditional French mime? Except this show comes courtesy of New Zealand-based company, The White Face Crew, who are only pretending to be French for comic effect. They deliver a whimsical tale about a lonely and reclusive piano player (Tama Jarman) and a life-size puppet (Chris Ofanoa), who helps him rediscover his old self.

This is gentle, knockabout stuff, that will enthrall young viewers (the children at our performance laugh delightedly throughout) but also has enough allegorical depth to keep the parents on board. There’s a bit of audience interplay courtesy of La Luna (Nikki Bennett), some lovely movement sequences and plenty of slapstick humour. As you’d expect from a show like this, it’s not all laughs – there’s a little bit of heart-tugging too – but trust me it doesn’t hurt a bit.

Those who can’t face quite such an early start may be interested to know that there’s another showing at 16.30 every day. Those parents who are frantically trying to keep their youngsters occupied during the Fringe could do a lot worse than head for this. As the oldest kid in the audience, I can assure them they’ll wind up feeling every bit as charmed as their offspring.

4 stars

Philip Caveney

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