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Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 Theatre Reviews - Chase Scenes / Famous Puppet Death Scenes

CanadaHub @ King’s Hall
Four stars

A woman steps on the stage looking like a heroine on the run from a film noir. On the screens behind her she’s just been revealed in an actual movie, walking in the park after dark. Now, in the flesh, the scene is so familiar you think you know what’s coming next. As it turns out, the woman, followed around with two others filming her for a live video feed, makes the equivalent of a jump cut and a quick-fire costume change, and we’re onto the next thing.

Over the next hour in Chase Scenes, the trio, led by the show’s creator Ming Hon, take turns to act out sixty bite-size scenarios that move between madcap and mayhem. Hon, Alexandra Elliot and Hilary Anne Crist simulate running upstairs, downstairs, up on the roof and late for the train, all the while being chased by a series of nightmares that simply won’t let up. It’s an exhausting (for them) and at times cartoon-like subversion of male gaze clichés that drag the audience along for the ride in entertainingly breathless fashion.

If Hon’s creation looks like the wild card of the CanadaHub programme, Famous Puppet Death Scenes takes things even more out there even as the Old Trout Puppet Theatre’s compendium of gothic miniatures does exactly what its title suggests. Our host for the evening is one Nathaniel Tweak, an ancient marionette with the gravitas of the solitary late-night freaks framing episodes of The Twilight Zone and its ilk. Tweak conveys the earnestness of the occasion, with dark shades of Edward Gorey leavened by a gallows humour. All of this comes to life, and indeed death, in a series of brutal encounters punctuated by a running gag involving what might well be the hand of God.

The Herald, August 11th 2018

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