Friday, October 8, 2010

Billy Twinkle: Requiem for a Golden Boy by Ronnie Burkett

Ronnie Burkett and Billy Twinkle puppet
It's hard to do a one-man show because it always ends up looking like you're playing with yourself - especially when you're talking to dolls and making them talk back to you. And especially when one of those dolls is a miniature version of you that you made yourself for that very purpose. It's an odd set up, but one that draws out multiple layers of meaning.

Burkett began the show with himself as the puppeteer Billy Twinkle, manipulating a stripper puppet who takes her clothes off seamlessly by herself. Then when Burkett/Billy becomes possessed by his dead puppeteering teacher, he himself becomes a puppet to the will of his possessor: he is forced to reenact his past, with puppets playing his past selves and mentors. The story explores the course of Billy’s career from when he was a kid at a puppet festival doing his gig with his stripper puppet (see above picture) and trying to get the puppeteering master to take him on as an apprentice - to him as an adult, now the master, being hassled by a kid with a drag queen puppet.

Basically, this is the best puppet show I've ever seen (granted, the only one - but still) and I highly recommend it. It's showing at Factory Theatre until October 24th 2010.

Ronnie on stage
Doreen puppet holding Jesus puppet

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