New Zealand theatre reviews, performace reviews and performing arts directory

Follow Theatreview
Follow Theatreview on Twitter


Print Version

Auckland Fringe 2013
Present Company

at The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
From 27 Feb 2013 to 2 Mar 2013

Reviewed by Hannah Smith, 28 Feb 2013

“Everybody be cool, this is a puppet show.”  Puppet Fiction is one of those ridiculous but brilliant ideas: bringing the cult film to the stage in marionette form. To quote the blurb, the concept is “bat-shit crazy,” but Pulp Fiction is a classic, and anyone who enjoyed it (and seriously, who doesn't) will find this show rewarding. 

The puppets are incredible – lovingly made, well-observed, and with loads of character, even in repose.  Jon Coddington is a gifted artist and a craftsman – and his John Travolta impersonation is totally credible, too. The action is performed in front of a TV screen; convenient for displaying the credits and showing a few scene changes, and behind which a bit of stage management happens. 

The cast are strong, sweating their way through tricksy bits and taking the inevitable mistakes in their stride. James Nokise particularly shines, especially as he is the quickest with his adlibs and off the cuff witticisms. 

The game of the show lies in watching the puppeteers struggle; eating, kissing, shooting up: these are all tricky things to do with a 30cm tall marionette.  But the limitations and off-the-cuff responses to it are half of the humour.  The rest comes from that excellent script. 

I walked away from this show hungry to watch Pulp Fiction again.  In Auckland they are performing the movie in segments, so you'll have to keep coming back if you want to see all your favourite parts.

And in terms of seeing everything, the puppets are small so get in quick to get a seat front and centre – otherwise there will be stuff you miss. This show has cult smash written all over it. They are heading off to Adelaide next, where I expect them to be a hit.  Get in now and check it out.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.

 John Smythe
 Terry MacTavish