This is one of those shows where the ‘cabaret’ of the title is actually a frame for a piece of theatre, rather than the form of the event. All though we do get a compere and a voluptuous (at first, anyway) naked aerialist.
And they’re made of foam.
It’s not clear who’s running the show here, the puppets or their black hooded animators. The hoods lend a suitably dark yet unthreatening tone, and become particularly pertinent when the stage starts descending into a mass puppet grave.
The performers are Rebecca O’Brien and Peter Morton, who are also co-directors of the company, Knuckle and Joint. Morton is an excellent puppeteer-actor, and I enjoy the way he interacts with the world and it’s inhabitants – whatever they may be made of. If O’Brien appears a little psychotic and over the top, at least this is justified by the end.
The highlight of the show is wannabe stand-up, stage manager Ned, who could be described as ‘a bit of a Nigel’, trying in his own slow manner to be cool. There is a loose storyline about a burglar and an aerialist who have a romantic tryst but things take a turn for the absurd and the dark.
Boris and Sergei it aint, but its certainly sits within the same category and has its own charm. The puppets all have wonderfully expressive static faces. There’s some fun audience improv. And there’s a giant cardboard cock. If you’ve never seen Boris and Sergei, you’d have no grounds for disappointment, and there are worse ways to warm up your Edinburgh Fringe.