EFR - Reviews of Myrtle Chops

Myrtle Chops

Tue 23rd – Mon 29th August 2011

reviews

Bethany Knibb

at 12:01 on 25th Aug 2011

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To give you some background to this review, my feelings about puppets are quite mixed. In general, I find them a bit creepy and in the past I haven’t felt like they contribute much to the success of a show. However, within the first 10 minutes of “Myrtle Chops”, I was enchanted.

This show has one of the strongest scripts I’ve seen in the Festival and the cast are incredible. These four students (Esme Baker, Kate Bell, Martin Poile and Flic Sturge) have essentially transformed some old socks and a tiny theatre space into the makings of a masterpiece.

Not only are the stories themselves clever, but the script is full of witty puns, hilarious concepts (the “purple duck of happiness” is just one) and sharp observations. They cover everything from being afraid of the dark to sex and drugs, but they do it with such lightness and absurdity that it’s impossible not to be entertained.

The whole show is performed in a kind of ‘sung storytelling verse’, where the actors take it in turns to narrate a story about a puppet protagonist. I have no clue where the title of the play comes from but the description of “puppets and catchy ukulele tunes” didn’t really get me going. In actual fact, the ukulele part is extremely effective and each member of the cast has a chance to show off their talent and skill. The fact that puppets are used gives the cast more versatility in what they could do with the characters and lent an extra dimension of humour to the show. While I still find puppets creepy (the show has some dark moments, too) I cannot pretend that they weren’t central to the blinding success of “Myrtle Chops”.

I wish I could find a better way to describe “Myrtle Chops” than lines they use in their own script, but I can’t. Their production is “informative and funny / serious yet sunny” and one of the most enjoyable shows I’ve seen over the whole month. It stops before it becomes too long (40 minutes) and has you humming the tunes for the rest of the day. A huge success.

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Dominic Sowa

at 15:25 on 25th Aug 2011

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Sometimes a poster can be more enemy than best friend to a show at the Fringe. The poster for Myrtle Chops, the play written and performed by the Bunting Puddle theatrical company, simply doesn’t stand out from the crowd. The play certainly does. Full of foul mouthed puppets, well written lyrics and ukulele skills to match, this is the show stopper which will leave you wondering where the time has gone.

Myrtle Chops is performed by a group of four inventive and talented individuals. Together, Esme Baker, Kate Bell, Martin Poile and Flic Sturge incorporate puppetry, music and narration into a piece that will leave you as disturbed as you shall be entertained. The audience follows the scarily relatable and recognisable experiences of six puppet protagonists as they grow up in a Daily Mail vision of our depraved society. This world is full of promiscuity, drug abuse and paedophilia and the show takes the form of a frank but entertaining tête à tête with the exaggerated image that society has of its own problems and demons. This show is definitely about the experiences the generation of the performers has of growing up in a world scared of every creak and shadow.

Though this show may be seen as overtly confrontational and obsessively attempting to erode all hope in modern society, it is instead an intelligent and hilarious poke at our tendencies to overreact and create demons and threats that don’t exist. This is a jab at the social Munchhausen tendency that affects us all. This piece takes a heavy weight off your shoulders.

In a fantastic parody of saccharine and PC children’s TV presenter based shows that children are plopped in front of these days, the show jumps between narration and the loosely connected stories of the six protagonists. We expect parable like tales full of morals, and in a sense we get some, but not the ones you would expect. The puppet choreography is marvellous and the wit and humour never ending. The ensemble works perfectly and the energy definitely bounces of one another to create this highly comic piece.

The puppets (handmade ones) are as loveable as they are tragic, the acting deep and emotional yet funny and shallow when it needs to be. Never has a puppet show that seems to have come from a Tim Burton film been this entertaining and moving. A must see.

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Comments

Stuart Robertson; 27th Aug 2011; 17:22:04

Standing ovaries, sorry ovation... this show is packed with amazingly brilliant, hilarious, slightly disturbing observations on the weird and wonderful world in which we live.... If you only have one one day in edinburgh, don't waste it, see this show!

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