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Review: Laser Beak Man at the Sydney Opera House

Review By Liam Shand Egan

Dead Puppet Society (in association with Tim Sharp & Sam Cromack of Ball Park Music) has really struck gold with their latest show ‘Laser Beak Man’. I cannot recall ever seeing a puppet show growing up so if Laser Beak Man is anything to go by - I feel cheated by my own childhood (sorry Mum). ‘Laser Beak Man’ is a wonderful production, full of creative achievement and pure joy and love for its creative roots.  The world that Tim Sharp has created is full of unique characters that inspire (which feels strange to admit as a 26 year old) - from the titular ‘Laser Beak Man’ to the the cavalcade of barnyard animals residing in Power City. The story is a very classic ‘hero’s journey’ story full to the brim with visual jokes and wordplay courtesy of writers David Morton, Nicholas Paine and Sharp. The ‘elevator pitch’ for this show is something straight out of a child’s notebook and filled with a lifetime’s worth of emotional resonance and technical prowess. The show brings you in with an earnest optimism and then keeps you with brilliant wordplay and a surprising amount of strong action sequences. The cast is outstanding (both human and puppet) but the highlights for me were Jonathan Riddleberger as ‘Black Sheep’ and Nathaniel P. Claridad as ‘Peter Bartman’. While the entire cast were outstanding, I cannot overlook those two for their stand-out performances and the way their performances really delivered the comedy.  Laser Beak Man has music better than several of my favourite Marvel movies (sorry Iron Man 2). Sam Cromack of the indie/pop band Ball Park Music has really delivered, creating wonderful themes for most of the characters, raising the game for the entire show. If anything, the score, coupled with the way the scenery is projected onto the stage, made me feel like I watching an actual movie. That is the most impressive thing about this show actually - it feels like you’re watching real people on stage. Dead Puppet Society have raised the game with this show’s staging that when coupled with dramaturgy from Louise Gough and Todd MacDonald, the 35-or-so have an expressive quality that you don’t see in many other theatres.  The only criticism I have for the show is that despite the medium and source material, the development of the show really doesn’t make it suitable for children. The show is definitely family-friendly but I think you’d get more enjoyment out of the show not bringing the kids. Spend the money on a babysitter and relax rather than having to explain why it’s funny that Laser Beak Man was caught staring at Amazing Grace’s cleavage. That being said, if you take the kids, the set and music will ensure that they love it and will bug you to go again Laser Beak Man is the product of an 11-year old boy’s imagination and has all the emotion of that. Tim Sharp’s vision for this world is so clear and Dead Puppet Society and Sam Cromack have helped bring a beautiful character to life. Laser Beak Man is a superhero that the world cannot help but love…… now watch Hollywood turn him into the next Batman.  Tickets are still on sale for this show via the Sydney Festival until Sunday -

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.


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