With way too much on offer at the Fringe, I was pleased to find one show that stood up and said, “See me!” Yes, the combination of shadow puppets, space pirates, and a 3D finale meant that Slapdash Galaxy was at the top of my list of shows to see at the Fringe.
The performance was done as a one-man effort (with occasional help from the audience’s shadows): we had a sort of mad Gepetto making puppets out of devices placed on his hands, his thumbs making their mouths. He’s built them so their eyes could blink and their eyeballs move: with just two moving parts he was able to create a huge range of emotions.
The story was of two brothers forced to leave their home planet and seek a new home amongst the stars …with their magic fish. (I thought it seemed a bit like the background of Superman …excepting the fish.) You’d think a tiny spaceship on a stick wouldn’t be very convincing, but with the help of a little smoke and the circular screen for the people puppets (like a port hole), I was bought in. The puppeteer mocked his medium (especially when accidents occurred), but the jokes made it all easier to get connected to the story without getting too caught up in any lack of verisimilitude.
While I thought the peak of the action was going to be when the elder brother fought off a tentacled spider (nicely brought to life by an audience member) thanks to GIANT SMOKE RINGS which I really thought were the height of puppetry special effects, in fact, it got even better at the end, when 3D glasses and red and blue black lights turned the shadows into A PIRATE SHIP IS FLYING IN THE AUDIENCE. Which was awesome. And there was a space zoo and a happy ending. Win!
(This review is for a performance that took place on Sunday, August 25th, 2013. There is a final show today.)