Clementine’s Fabulous Roadshow
Mark Mander hosts the puppet variety show as the flamboyant Clementine, busting out a series of show stoppers, such as ‘Lonely Living Doll’, and equally dazzling costume changes on her tiny puppet body. Startled side glances and Clementine’s highly expressive human face accompany computer generated sets, voice overs by Spitting Image’s Steve Nallon and some spot on lip-syncing. Little wonder it won last years’ ‘Best Light Entertainment Show’ at Islington’s Rosemary Branch Theatre, along with fourteen 4 and 5 star reviews.
The first half of the show introduces a range of larger than life characters, all expertly operated by the three puppeteers; Ruth Calkin, Mark Esaias and Hugh Purves. From the Elvis-inspired and blush-inducing Ricky Rooster to a giant singing bug that threatens to ‘puke’ on us, a now child-like audience squeals with laughter. The motley crew of characters board a haunted toy bus and embark on a murder mystery style adventure on AA batteries. Nicely naughty dialogue and a wonderfully silly action adventure maintain the playful atmosphere, along with a few side swipes at current global upheavals.
In round two, Clementine dives into action as a Bondesque Snow White on a mission to find Prince Charming. Armed with a stylish laser hair drier and super eyeshadow she battles the Abominable Snow Man and Coldfinger the plastic surgeon who struggles to rejuvenate the Evil Queen to look under 62. Real-life puppets and computer graphics complement each other in a comic adventure under the sea and across mountain tops. The puppeteers flourish on with a visible and infectious sense of fun, missile sweets into the audience and meet a grand finale with Clementine and a spectacular blast of shiny confetti.
The perfect antidote for that feeling when everything in the world seems topsy-turvy, we need more of this brand of well-crafted silliness.
Mark Mander, Steve Nallon, Ruth Calkin, Mark Esaias and Hugh Purves