Thursday, March 22, 2007

Jacob's ladder.

So, thanks to my old friend Syd at the Center for Puppetry Arts, I was able to see the preview of their latest "big idea" show for adults, THE VERTIGO OF SHEEP.

For those of you who don't recall, it was my attendance at THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY, an ill-conceived "big idea" existentialist puppet show about depression, a couple years ago that inadvertantly led me to meet Syd in the first place. And my review of that show is probably one of the great moments in my blog's history. But anyway ...

THE VERTIGO OF SHEEP is a beautiful, inventive show about a man trying to better understand the messages of the Old Testament by reimagining and staging some of the parables himself, using the everyday objects he keeps around in the set's shelves and cabinets as puppets. The use of the everyday objects is what gives the show its charm and momentum. As a viewer, I was always curious to see what the man would pull out of his cabinets.

My favorite part was the fall of Sodom and Gommorah, illustrated with slices of angel food cake and a pile of forks. Also good was the story of Abraham and Isaac, parts of which were told with a butter knife, a rock and a cup of water. The creation of the world was told using coat hangers and a wine rack.

But the whole thing flows kinda brilliantly, thanks to the talents and enthusiasm of the two cast members, and it's always fun and never, ever preachy.

The whole show was developed, built and performed by Andrew Kim and Kathy Bradley, and Kim's work as the central character and primary puppeteer is engaging.

Bradley, meanwhile, steals the show by creating a fully-realized, expressive character who, meanwhile, provides all of the incidental music, sings three solos and even injects humor and attitude into just changing the title cards. She was terrific. I want her to follow me around with a ukelele and provide theme music for my whole life.

The whole show was really good, managing to explore its big ideas while not getting too overwhelmed by them and remembering always to entertain the audience.

It plays through March 25.

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