Puppet shows have come a long way from seaside pier Punch and Judy shows, and the wobbly believability of the marionettes of 1960s TV series, but their power to entertain remains as strong as ever. And while technology and technique may have moved on, a new generation of puppets, most aimed squarely at the adult audience, may have more in common with the dubious characters of the last century’s crowd-pleasing shows than you might think.
Punch, while limiting himself to a bit of larceny and light-hearted wife-beating, had some strong genes which are evident in the characters of Puppet Show, by Eastside Projects, although his progeny are an altogether shadier bunch. Emerging from behind the traditional curtain, this gang of political puppets – the rulers of a a puppet state, in fact – are frauds, cheats and gender-bending imposters who reappear when the satirical climate is right with an evolution of a show that began in 2008. For a full list of the puppeteers and more details about their nefarious activities, presented in a series of performances until May 18, we suggest you visit the Eastside Projects website, but in purely visual terms, these creations and the worlds they inhabit are as far from wooden caricatures as you can get.