Friday, 30 October 2015

Happy Halloween! Here's our pick of the Top 10 scariest Puppets...

In reverse order...

10. Punch
Comically violent and over the top at times, Mr Punch may not be the biggest baddie but he certainly is no Mr Nice Guy! At least not to his wife...

9. Skeksis from The Dark Crystal
The most terrifying Jim Henson invention, these guys are definitely not new to conjuring evil master plans...

8. Audrey 2 in Little Shop of Horrors 
Do not come too close otherwise you'll be his next meal...

7. Cryptkeeper in Tales of the Crypt
Unsettling with a hint of comedic elements, the Cryptkeeper is a scary yet intriguing character...

6. Plague Doctor Marionettes
Gritty and utterly grim, if this doctor is treating you then expect the outlook to be gloomy...

5. 'Ghost of Christmas yet to come' in The Muppets Christmas Carol
Definitely the scariest Muppet of them all...

4. The White Rabbit in Alice
Not your usual childhood adaption of this famous book - this taxidermy rabbit by Jan Svankmajers is truly disgusting...

3. Giant Praying Mantis from Sarruga 
Of all the Spanish company's giant outdoor puppets we think this is the freakiest...

2. Ghost puppets in Kwaidan by Rouge28
Currently to be seen at the Suspense Festival, these puppets are inspired by Japanese horror movies...

1. Billy from Saw
Ruthless, unforgiving, stubborn yet intelligent, he stands firmly among the most evil master minds of modern horror...

Have we missed your scariest puppet? Let us know! 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

So what is Animo?

Next week, Mark will be a special guest in Improbable's Animo at Suspense Puppetry Festival. I had a chat to Improbable's Co-Artistic Director, Lee Simpson, to find out what actually goes on...

How would you describe Animo in one sentence?
The bastard child of improvisation and puppetry

Where did Animo begin and why?
It was a way for the different aspects of Improbable to meet onstage: Julian's mask and puppet making, Phelim's experimental theatre, and my cheap impro comedy. 

How does the show work?
The short answer is that it doesn't always. What does happen, is that we meet onstage, meet the audience and take it from there. There's no structure or shape in mind. We find out what kind of show it is as we go along and at the same time as the audience. 

How do you decide on the range of everyday materials and objects used in each performance?
There are some regular things: newspaper, sticky tape, sticks, usually some foam rubber and cardboard. Other than that it's pretty arbitrary. Whatever catches our attention or whatever is lying around the theatre! 

What is the most challenging aspect of performing the show?
Trusting the not knowing.

What else are you looking forward to seeing at Suspense Festival?
Rouge28 Theatre's Kwaidan - they are also performing at the New Diorama. Christopher Leith's piece should be very special too.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

6 questions in 6 minutes - puppetry company Humanish on their rehearsals this month...

Supported puppetry company Humanish are rehearsing their new show Holy Presents - a puppet sketch comedy about Christmas Day in the house of the Holy Trinity, at Blind Summit this month. I spoke to Artistic Director Tara Boland to find out more about the show...

Where did the idea for Holy Presents come from?
It began as my final project at LISPA, using scenes from Les Mis. I had seen Humanette puppets used in other shows and just really loved the image and idea of making big things small. 

Who are the characters in Holy Presents?
Jesus - the prodigal son who is quite righteous and earnest
God - is senile and considering other career choices he never had (mainly being an actor)
The Holy Ghost - he likes drinking, farting and the female body (as well as his own!) 

A Humanette puppet is...
...a table top puppet, with a body about the size of a 9 month old baby attached to the head of a performer. 

What have you been focussing on during your rehearsal time at Blind Summit?
We're mainly focussing on the structure and the detailing of the narrative.

What's your top puppetry tip that has come out of rehearsals so far?
Slow down! Take your time - let the puppet do the talking. 

And most importantly, when can we see Holy Presents?
We are doing a half hour showcase at the Warwick Arts Centre on 7th November, as part of China Plate Theatre's Bite Size Festival. 

Our London premiere and run is from the 15 - 19 December at Camden People's Theatre

For updates on Holy Presents, head to Humanish's Facebook page