The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre

Like Scotland? Like socks? Then you could do worse than buy tickets to see the hilarious antics of The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre as they tour the UK in an untamed blaze of tartan mayhem. The brainchild of comedian and Beano comic strip artist Kev F Sutherland, this comedy show gleams with feel good pop culture references and mocks genres like sci-fi, musicals and horror through the unique outlet of two grey, woollen sock puppets.

The set is a Punch and Judy style booth dressed in tartan cloth, inside which Sutherland remains completely obscured as he operates his sock alter egos. Despite their material composition, there is absolutely nothing woolly about this dynamic duo. The googly-eyed pair – one dressed in a kilt, accessorised with a tiny sporran, the other in a sparkly gold waistcoat and bow tie – have the audience mesmerised from the moment the curtain to their mini world of zany props and quick fire gags is opened.

Beginning by consulting the audience to decipher which age groups are present, the puppets manage to ‘gaze’ directly at individuals, despite the puppeteer having no view of the auditorium. The resulting conversation, as they discuss whether to provide a ‘family-friendly’ show or not, is a fun start.

The verdict is a compromise, to perform part of a new family-friendly adventure entitled ‘Chunky Woollen Knits’, along with elements of ‘Socks in Space’ where, as the title suggests, the puppets become the first pair of socks not worn by an astronaut to journey beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.

The show features much bickering between the two puppets but every mischievous comment is well-crafted and skilfully timed. Sutherland also deals swiftly and comically with hecklers. One inquisitive lady who interrupts the socks to ask how they cope with being smelly is promptly advised that clothing items are washable, much to the amusement of everyone else.

Cheeky parody songs are another highlight, as performed by the puppets in their high-pitched Scottish twang. You can’t help but smile when the socks reappear with guitars strapped to their woollen bodies, along with bouncy little arms that give the impression of strumming back and forth on their instruments. A liberal amount of sock head banging also adds realism here.

The costume changes are improbably quick and make for great laughs, particularly when one sock suffers a wardrobe malfunction (his little silver space helmet keeps slipping over his googly eyes). The puppet remains in character, philosophically explaining he needs to re-work the costume design.

After the socks enjoy much applause, their animator emerges from within the booth for his own well-deserved but modest bow. At this point it dawns on the audience that they have been watching the work of one talented man alone. It’s an ingenious show, likely to get you playing with the contents of your own sock drawer.

Credits

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre
Seen in action at Swindon Arts Centre

Quotes

"Despite their material composition, there is absolutely nothing woolly about this dynamic duo. The googly-eyed pair have the audience mesmerised."

Additional Info

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre is on tour. See their gig guide for details.

Links

www.utproductions.co.uk/socks
www.swindon.gov.uk/artscentre