Faulty Optic, Soiled

Review in Issue 19-2 | Summer 2007

Everything we have come to expect from the genius that is Faulty Optic Theatre of Animation is here: a lonely old (puppet) man haunted by memories of lost love; the intricate junk-construction sets that transform from faded bedroom to nightmare; the atmospheric soundtrack that evokes a bygone era of circus and burlesque; the disjointed narrative veering from the wistful, to the macabre, to the grimly humorous; the ghost-train ride created by a hand-held video meander through a miniature world. In this version of events, our hero discovers that his twittering pet-bird – the very picture of innocent (though stroppy) playfulness – is guilty of murdering his long-lost mermaid lover. Banning the only joyful thing in his dusty and bug-infested home, our hero plunges into a despair that is painfully evident as he reaches, stretches, leaps in vain to open the high cabinet where his lover's remains are kept – only to collapse into a delirium that has him soundly beaten in a boxing match against a twisted ballerina. A disused seaside fairground, the scene of his long-gone fishy romance, becomes a journey through hell complete with half-buried skulls, foraging dogs and smoke-stained machines. There is a happy ending, as our puppet-hero eventually emerges from the dark and finds companionship in his cleaning-obsessed friend, but it's not really the story that matters in a Faulty Optic show. We watch for the magical way in which the characters come to life although these are lives of quiet desperation and conjure an array of haunting and heartening emotions.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 2007

This article in the magazine

Issue 19-2
p. 27