They seem to have a magic touch, the three young puppeteers of Perth Theatre Company.
In their sensitive hands, lumps of cotton wool turn into adorably eager puppies, and tents come quiveringly to life. They had a huge fringe hit with The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik, and while It’s Dark Outside can’t quite match that for sheer wonder, they prove they have a real skill in gently manipulating puppets - and an audience’s heart.
Through a mix of cute animation, live action, shadow and actual puppetry - but no words - PTC tell the story of an old man who’s losing his memory; it puffs away in little cotton wool clouds, which a seemingly sinister cowboy catches in a net. The old man follows them, taking us on a journey that delves into his life memories (and a meeting with that tent-turned-adorable-creature, whom he pets and then forgets; you’ll never be dried-eyed in Millets again).
It’s Dark Outside has real charm, littered with moments that make you coo, smile or sigh. The storytelling initially isn’t as clear as it could be, given it’s a simple tale, but every tilt of a head, twitch of a tent pole or bob of a cloud is perfectly precise. Such control renders this a cut above many a fringe puppet show.
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