Faulty Optic, Snuffhouse Dustlouse

Review in Issue 12-1 | Spring 2000

Within the fantastically grotesque world they create from mismatched household objects, Faulty Optic tell a gothic tale of cruelty and revenge. The hand puppet Mabel, half-sack, half-man, is an utterly human creature.

Edgy and obsessive, absorbed in his incomprehensible, repetitive tasks, his ritualistic existence is compelling. Without a clue as to what was going on, I found myself swiftly drawn into his mad reality and moved by his strange but touchingly childlike personality. The first part of the piece explores Mabel’s curious, fearful response to the intrusion of a foetus-like creature and his growing wonder at the operations of this creature’s legs – limbs which Mabel lacks. Both puppets’ movements and reactions are minutely observed and skilfully articulated and the dark humour of their relationship is brought out by John Winfield’s witty, atmospheric sound score.

The middle section takes us back in time to Mabel’s childhood, introducing his surreally cruel parents and explaining how he lost his legs. While I admired the wild imagination the company brought to their exposition, I found this section less engaging The parents’ characters cross the line from the absurd to the ridiculous and I found the introduction of dialogue grating and unnecessary. With the return to Mabel’s personal world, however, and a return to sound and music rather than speech, the atmosphere of demented extremity became once again convincing,

Faulty Optic bring great energy and imagination to the creation of their surreal worlds and are particularly impressive in their full use of all the theatrical resources available.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 2000

This article in the magazine

Issue 12-1
p. 23