Careful What You Wish For
Dunstan Playhouse. 15 Nov 2011
The nearly packed opening night audience was full of Strasso tragics clutching their commercially modified replicas of Ted E. Bare purchased in the foyer. Californian-born Strassman loves Adelaide and he thankfully pointed out that it was here that he graduated from pubs and clubs to the stage.
Some say Strassman is the best ventriloquist in the world. Some say he has revolutionized the trade with modern technology and others write that he has made ventriloquism hip. I’m not sure about hip, or any of the rest because the last time I saw a ventriloquist was the Ed Sullivan show. But he had the audience in the palm of his hand for nearly two hours and, me, a mere tiro, I thoroughly enjoyed this adult kid’s show.
In fact, it’s so magical, you want to get on stage and talk to the puppets yourself. Why should David have all the fun? It begins with a visit to Chuck Wood’s room. Chuck is David’s oldest friend and he manipulates him in the traditional manner. Yes, you may ask, whom do you mean manipulates who? It’s all guesswork as Strassman keeps this show rather post-modern with constant references to what’s really going on (“It’s a puppet show!”) and numerous forays into pop psychology and the manikin as a manifestation of one’s inner self. It all made sense and nonsense on the night.
Under the guise of a plot by Chuck to take over (I think he already has) we meet various versions of Strassman’s mind – the naïve but lovable and aforementioned Ted E. Bare, the sleazy Vegas comic hack, Sid the beaver, and Grandpa Fred. The game-changer is the robotic female, A.N.G.E.L., who grants wishes, and a loose thought sends the show into a parallel universe where the smorgasbord of characters have alter egos who are no less smutty and scatological than their earthbound avatars. So there’s plenty to see in front of the mood-setting and animated projections upstage. Some of the jokes are very good and there are many tender moments.
I was in the front row so I could see everything and bloody hell, he’s an excellent ventriloquist. As the evening progresses, there is an increasing use of robotic trickery that puts a rocket up traditional ventriloquism.
When all is finally returned as it was, a demonstration of an Apple app on which his various characters foretell the future completely failed, but no-one cared it was such a good show. But we did have a peak at a photo of him and his son who looked remarkably like Chuck.
|< Prev||Next >|