Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Puppet Up! is a wild romp in which the skilled art of puppetry and spontaneous comedy collide.

3.5 out of 4 stars

Title
Puppet Up! – Uncensored
Genre
Comedy
Directed by
Patrick Bristow
Venue
Panasonic Theatre
City
Toronto
Runs Until
Sunday, November 03, 2013

Puppet versions of a crab and an orangutan absurdly joked about a stripper and a spoon inappropriately hidden within a body cavity. "And that is why," said the zippy real-life emcee, calling an end to the skit, "the kids aren't here."

That caffeinated host – it was the Googleable character actor Patrick Bristow – told the audience not to be shy, polite or respectful, because none of the cast members of the "psychotic puppet party" would be.

And then a goat, a weasel and a hot dog riffed on meatloaf and Lady Gaga. "Who writes this [stuff]?" one of them asked. The answer? No one.

Story continues below advertisement

No one does any writing when it comes to Puppet Up!, an absurd and highly energetic production of comedic improv and uninhibited puppetry. The show was billed as being "uncensored," with the material taking its extemporaneous inspiration from the shouted-out suggestions of the loudest and cheekiest members of the audience.

On opening night at the Panasonic Theatre, the dialogue was wacky and Mayor Rob Ford fared poorly. Kermit the Frog would have croaked from shock. Gonzo was never this gonzo.

A six-member troupe appeared on stage, with their hands up the backs of a large variety of unnamed nutty animals, people and things in-between. They stayed close to a small front-and-centre camera and monitor, which enabled the puppet-only action to be viewed on a pair of elevated screens. I preferred to watch the improv-puppeteers with their Muppet-like props together, though. The comics were as watchable as the dolls they were manipulating.

The touring show is the brainchild of Bristow and Brian Henson, the son of The Muppets creator Jim Henson. The scion heads up Henson Alternative, a production company concerned with content created specifically for adult audiences.

And adults say the darndest things. When the charmingly facilitating Bristow solicited a suggestion for a subject for one of the evening's many sketches, a crowd member put forward Miley Cyrus, which was booed down.

Because puppets are mock, they possess unique slapstick license for satirizing and parodying the powerful. They are amusing and affable and harmless, which enable them to say and do indecorous things.

So, yeah, Mayor Ford. The idea of the sketch was to involve someone doing something inappropriate. Sensing that the theme was too easy, the nimble-brained Bristow switched the premise to the character (Ford) involved with something fanciful. "Ballet dancing," someone yelled. But where? "At the Gay Pride Parade." And away we went.

Story continues below advertisement

The energy was mostly madcap throughout, with a few vintage skits from Jim Henson's vault thrown in for a change of pace. Which is what burlesque puppetry is: a change of pace. Possibilities are cute, wild and illusory – all the more so when the antics are off the cuff.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies