'The Great Puppet Horn' - Pangolin's Teatime | Edinburgh 2012
My afternoon with the 'Great Puppet Horn' was by far one of the funniest and most surreal of the Fringe.
Billed as ‘South Park meets Newsnight with a whole load of cardboard’, Pangolin's Teatime's use of popular film, comic book imagery and surreal humour belies intelligent satire and a complicated story, which was intricately brought to a conclusion despite appearing disparate in places.
The shadow puppetry was well executed, if a little Heath Robinson, but that was all part of its charm. The boys – Jeremy Bidgood and Lewis Young (who make up the performance element of the company) – unceremoniously flung characters across the stage when their moment was complete.
And what a selection of characters there were, from Margaret Thatcher as an alien queen, Nick Clegg as Cameron’s literal lap dog, an evil Sean Connery plotting to steal England’s water, alongside one of the main protagonists of the story, Billie the Bi-polar bear.
It’s quite a skill to entertain around 60 people, in a dingy room, on a Sunday afternoon, with shadow puppets. This team managed it with aplomb. The audience was laughing and toe curling in equal measure, as some jokes came a little close to the mark.
The show is a hilarious reflection of this year in politics and does what British satire does best, poking fun at the authorities and all the wondrously awful decisions they make.
'The Great Puppet Horn' is a good example of how puppetry can engage a younger audience, and not those of school attending age. It was great to see puppetry pulling in a crowd of ever elusive under 35s. One of the companies tag lines is ‘Satirical shadow puppetry – what else?’ I’d say a lot else – a well crafted script, great puppets, energetic and amusing performance.
I actually took my parents along to this, our last show of the Fringe season, and I think it was a belter to end on. My Dad said it was one of his Fringe highlights and, from a passionate Monty Python, Spike Milligan, 'Have I got News for You' and 'Mock the Week' fan, I’d say that’s great praise indeed.
The Great Puppet Horn