Review: Famous Puppet Deaths at CanadaHub @ King’s Hall 

We stand, constantly, on the precipice of mortality. Calgary’s Old Trout Puppet Workshop’s Famous Puppet Death Scenes does what theatre does best: disguises thought provoking moments amidst guts and laughter.

This is dedication to the ridiculous. With such a silly selling point, the moment you describe the concept of the show – an hour of variety style humour centred around puppet death scenes – most people have been sold or are turning their heads.

‘Inventive’ doesn’t cut it, ‘creative’ is almost insulting. What is achieved here is truly distinctive puppet storytelling of monumental standards. The puppets range from miniscule, to grotesquely hilarious and, in the closing moments, even become genuinely fear inducing. 

Just when you feel that one scene goes on for too long, you have the wind kicked out of you by what it was building up to. Just as the setup starts to feels painful, its humour ebbing, the pay off eclipses any irritation a thousand-fold.

Not every scene works. Some draw a chuckle, others a roar. A couple only receive a polite murmur but not a single one isn’t well thought out. The big achievement is the fact that they have managed to get the audience to treat puppet life (and death) with as much, if not more, dignity than human life. When the laughter dies off, there are poignant moments which really resonate.

Carnage, chaos, laughter and nudity are all the things worth living for to these puppets. It’s so much more than simply an hour of savage ways in which to slaughter puppets. As our host Nathaniel Tweak takes his final death scene, the audience are left pondering as the brutality, fun and anarchy ends.

Famous Puppet Death Scenes, CanadaHub @ King’s Hall, until 26 Aug, 8.30pm


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