Review: Puppets, Olivia Ruggiero Productions, Ed Fringe, By Hannah Goslin

 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

A lover of puppets, but also a lover of bringing these family friendly items into the adult universe, a show about dating and puppets sounded up my street.

Liv has been brought up, as we all have, of the idea of a White Knight and Prince Charming. But in a modern world, we have to wade through the frogs on dating apps that may seem like good deals or quickly not, but there is awkwardness and a need to stick with it to find this dream. Liv is crazed by this and, to bring her dating woes to life, these poor matches become our familiar favourite puppets from Sesame Street.

In between the stories, Ruggiero ties these up with contemporary and musical bops, showcasing her phenomenal voice. With this, her voice and ability to perform musical theatre is spectacular and it’s clear how much talent Ruggiero possesses. To bring this into a fringe show, featuring puppets and adult humour is a brilliant idea and should be commended. Despite this, for one who is not a novice but also not an expert on Musical Theatre, there were many songs and references that I wasn’t clear on their origins, with some being quite niche and so lost me a little with this. I guess, if you are happy to not think too much about where they come from or accept complete lack of knowledge of this genre, it’s great to absorb these but it felt distracting to me with recognition of some and not others.

The concept is of course interesting – it touches on predecessors such as Avenue Q or Hand of God, using puppetry to give a humorous approach to adult topics. However, I found myself a little lost with who was who and the story-line and with this, possibly missed some of the comedy or point of the story telling. With Liv’s dating life being summarised as not tying up the search for the love of her life and instead, realisation of confidence in herself, it felt a little out of the blue without us seeing more work on herself that could lead to that conclusion.

Puppets is great fun, with a beautiful voice belting through the walls and fantastic performance in general. I just felt a little lost with the story and felt that the important elements such as the songs were rather niche for an ordinary audience.

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