Faulty Optic, Horsehead

Review in Issue 18-1 | Spring 2006

An old man (a trademark Faulty Optic cranky and gnarled puppet) crumbles into decrepitude, haunted by memories of the distant joy of better days as one half of a pantomime horse. There are intense recollections of the pony-tailed pole dancer who became his 'better half'. There are brutal burlesque numbers and haunting amputations played out before our eyes as we travel back in time, to witness scenes of tawdry, faded glamour. But that was then and now our hero is trapped in a desolate sanatorium with a twitchy, jobs-worth, uncaring, cold-as-ice nurse. Fretfully, fearfully grasping for a little salvation, sanctuary of hope. There's a desperate need for the toilet and no help. He's alone, solitary, abandoned, full of self-disgust, haunted by nightmares of a rotting beetle-infested horse-head.

This is a meticulous show and what we have come to expect from Faulty Optic: phantasmagorical tales, fantastic imagery and a haunting atmosphere; extraordinary dark puppetry, automata and mechanical sculpture plus live and pre-recorded video installations, 3D animations and projections. I particularly enjoyed the onstage human narrator and soundscaper, who, placed downstage right and visible throughout, provided an island of theatrical intervention, telling the tale with words and sounds as it unfolded. Yet, within this meticulously crafted cruel and intricate world of wicked humour, as the pathway rambled further and deeper, I sorely needed some let-up from the ghastly grimness of this perpetually bleak journey into the darkest bowels of decay. It's potent work: I came away feeling impressed yet depressed.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Nov 2005

This article in the magazine

Issue 18-1
p. 28