Review By Lauren Donikian
Sunny skies, green grass, and filthy vents? One of these things is not like the others, and that is just the start of APOCKA-WOCKA-LOCKALYPSE. The latest offering from Tooth and Sinew Theatre Company explores friendship, loss, and insanity in their post-apocalyptic take on what would Play School do if the world was to end.
Opening with a musical number, we are introduced to the characters of this hilarious and cheeky show. Miss Melissa tells the tale of how she met her monster ‘friends’ Glorbo, Titzi, Blurkina and Shnerk the only way she knows how. Through reading a story book out loud. They live together in ‘Haven’, a bunker located in the Deadlands as they await the ‘Last Chance Plane’ the flight that will escort them to safety.
Miss Melissa played by Nicole Wineberg is like a member out of High Five who lives her life surrounded by puppets who rely on her to survive. Nicole is equally delightful as she is unhinged and makes me question the authenticity of presenters I watched as a child. Titzi, one of the puppets mastered by Lib Campbell is an instant favourite with her strong character choices and distinct voice. This should be taken as a compliment when I say she plays a petulant child well.
The rest of the cast that consist of Nathan Porteus, the puppeteer who plays Shnerk, Zoe Crawford who plays Blurkina and Matt Abotomey who plays Glorbo cannot be faulted. Their comedic timing, knowledge of how their puppets moved, and the use of their bodies as an extension of the puppet rather than just another human on stage had me smitten with these characters and wanting only the best for them. Being able to portray the feelings of these puppets so clearly, is something that I was not expecting. It was easy to forget that they were standing there, with times the puppets showing real emotion with a quick flick of a finger. Who knew that puppets could make me have such strong feelings. Credit to Ash Bell who created puppets Titzi, Shnerk, Blurkina and Glorbo as she gave them distinct features which lent itself to the characters and suited the storyline they had to play.
Throughout the show there is audience interaction, a craft segment, and adult humour that sneaks up on you so quickly that you feel like it’s inappropriate to enjoy it so much. Not only will you feel like you are a kid again, but you will regain their sense of humour too.
With a pastel-coloured chequerboard wall, different coloured lights placed diagonally and bright coloured puppets it was easy to forget that their world had ended. However, through clever writing and direction under Richard Hilliar the strong views around greed, the growing population and the damage we are doing to the world hits you once the music stops. Through all the laughs, guffaws and pre-empting of a cross word puzzle the message is very clear. The world will inevitably end, and where will you be when it does?
Image Credit: Clare Hawley