Puppet Being Theatre brings the first form of non-fluorescent black light theatre in Taiwan to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year as part of the Taiwan Season with The Backyard Story, a combination of contemporary and traditional puppetry.
The story revolves around two next door neighbours who don’t seem to get along. As they hang their washing up in the garden, they compete, trying to better each other. Once they head back into their homes and night falls, the clothes on the line come to life. We see different relationships form between each item of clothing: some experience jealousy, some create families and others form friendships. As the show comes to a close, the two neighbours return to find their clothes scattered between both of their back yards. They then work together to organise the clothes and seem to mend their rivalry as they head off for a cup of tea.
The piece claims to be educational, but some scenes were hard to understand for an adult, let alone a child. On the other hand, some scenes were easier to wrap your head around and were, in fact, beautiful and mesmerizing. The way the actors worked to animate the clothes displayed an artform they were clearly masters of, giving each piece of clothing it’s own individual personality. One flaw was in the pacing: some of the scenes were too long-winded and perhaps shorter scenes would have worked better to hold children’s attention.
All in all this is a lovely piece of puppetry with talented performers at the core.
Words: Rebecca Divine
Taiwan Season: The Backyard Story, Summerhall, Aug 15-27 (not 21), 11.45am