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Review: Penny Plain, by Ronnie Burkett - The Annals of Young Geoffrey: Hope brings a turtle [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Review: Penny Plain, by Ronnie Burkett [Mar. 23rd, 2012|01:56 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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Marionettes much more than mere muppets

But Ronnie Burkett's Penny Plain disappoints

I did something I seldom do Wednesday night: went out to the theatre. To the National Arts Centre, no less, having spent a full day's wages on the tickets to take the chance — as the artist put it during a post-performance question and answer session — of being badly disappointed, but guaranteed a unique experience.

The show was Ronnie Burkett's seventh, Penny Plain, and it is one that will never show up on video. Burquett is the singular artist and craftman who has made his career as a marionette artist: he writes the plays, builds the puppets and performs every part.

Burkett's craft is an ancient one and, like other ancient arts — fairy stories, for instance, or poetry — one often perceived as belonging to that oft-maligned, low-status realm of "children's work" (never mind that there is nothing inherently inferior in art meant for children; that is an argument for another time). But Burkett's stories are not intended for children, nor is his love for the art and the craft of puppetry a childish one.

His latest show is not his best, but if you get the chance to see Penny Plain, you should. The technical achievements alone are worth the price of admission. My full review is behind the link: Housebound apocalypse less than the sum of its parts.

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