Black Hole Theatre, Caravan

Review in Issue 16-3/4 | Autumn 2004

A 1950s style carnival rolls into town. A real cabaret performer is on stage, her speciality being saucy skilful hula-hooping. She meets with the grimy fairground workers, and with a cute knowing glance, entices one backstage… Caravan is a multi-layered show that messes with the traditional line between puppets and puppeteers. There’s blood, severed limbs, sex and treachery: from here on think Santa Sangra goes puppets.

Originally Caravan was created for an Australian pub audience, an adult show to be performed in brief episodes. It’s a show to be felt rather than logically thought about. Holding tight onto a chaotic timeline and articulating the rough, Caravan has many different elements; tiny detailed puppets such as bum-sniffing dogs, a large three-person-operated raunchy devil-dancing showgirl puppet with a phallic devil’s tail, some video projection (I would have liked this to have been flickery super-8 film) to highlight the small intimate details – and I particularly enjoyed the colour gel rear projections of images such as a fairground big wheel.

Puppets can transform and be cheeky, and if seen clearly, small can work beautifully. There’s a gorgeous circular movement between the puppeteer and the puppet – these puppeteers are grubby faced and don’t hide into the background and their puppets get away with things that live performers couldn’t. This is a strictly adult show – in Black Hole Theatre’s puppetry, the whimsical is strictly out the window.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Aug 2004

This article in the magazine

Issue 16-3/4
p. 25