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Friday, October 12
Since childhood I have enjoyed puppet shows.
A lifelong fan of Gerry Anderson's classic television puppet series such as Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet, I confess that as I sat in the darkness of the Fortune Theatre awaiting the start of Hatched I was already predisposed to liking it.
But to call Hatched a puppet show would do it a great disservice. It is marionette theatre of the highest order, as the almost full house was to discover.
Within five minutes of the play beginning, Martha, Velvetta and Elcho Grimstone ceased to be marionettes in the eyes of this audience member and became as real as Asphyxia and Paula Rowse, the two puppeteers who, in addition to expertly and sensitively controlling their charges, were an integral part of the drama.
Like myself, I could feel that the audience around me, which ranged in age from toddlers up, was completely enchanted and fully drawn into the charming and touching tale as it unfolded.
The intricate, miniature world of the wonderfully crafted sets provided the perfect setting for each scene of the magical story of the Grimstones to unfold, while the puppets were wonderful works of art in their own right, so human and yet so clearly not human.
While the 50-minute performance passed all too quickly, it was followed by a highly enjoyable question and answer session during which many audience members enthusiastically seized the opportunity to ask Asphyxia, the show's designer and creator, about every aspect of how Hatched had come into being.
The play was narrated in both spoken and sign language, and the latter, in particular, added a wonderfully visual dramatic quality to the performance.
I noted the advertising for Hatched included a one-line review from a critic simply named Jack, aged 6, who emphatically stated: "Hatched is the best thing I've ever seen".
I cannot disagree with that.
Hatched is an absolute must see.
- Ian Champman