August 20-27th (11.30)
Script: Stagecraft: Performance:
Still buzzing from last night’s “Pussy Riot” gig, I strolled down to Zoo on Nicolson Street to collect my tickets for Monday’s review… Paradiso. Then on to Charteris Church for the performance of a puppet show about old people dying, convalescence and palliative care. It was a full house, but it must be noted that considering most of the congregation were in their winter years, this venue was quite hazardous to circumnavigate. It was so, so, so dark, & when one had climbed the steps to take your seat, it was impossible to see the steep steps. A lot of the old people were talking about this being an accident waiting to happen. The lighting deffo needs improving there. Luckily, everyone was seated safety.
The puppets were not of the puppets-on-a-string variety, but were worn by each of the puppeteers. Three old men and one buxom charge nurse that bared an uncanny resemblance to an old flame of Divine’s.This was a performance that took its time to draw you in. The little dialect there was, was spoken in Italian. It was a performance that worked the audience. Three men that were forty minutes away from ascension, the story-line mimed by puppets. One man possessed a copy of Playboy; the soft porn – glossy, permanently attached. As the Pearly Gates moved closer, our heroes began reminiscing about past loves. The memories were enacted by shadow puppets, which didnae leave much for the imagination. If one wasnae paying attention it would have been so easy to have given up on even beginning to understand what was going on. I think this is one of the reasons that it did draw me in.
The charge nurse using a metal detector before boarding the last plane to ascension was as surreal as the entire concept. Then she began helping the last of our trio back through the Pearly Gates because he kept returning. Hmm, I thought, was this the dark twist, had the nurse murdered the last old man puppet, perhaps? It certainly took a while to process this show. As I wandered over to the Meadows, the sun was watery warm, I lay down on the grass and processed. My conclusion is that Paradiso is fine within its field, but not for everyone, & definitely not the kids expecting a fun show with puppets.
Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert