Canberra Theatre Playhouse
28th February to 4th March 2012.
Reviewed by Bill Stephens
More than just a brilliant ventriloquist, David Strassman is also a superb showman who pushes to art of ventriloquy in extraordinary directions, until it appears his dolls no long depend on him to make them move and talk, and even challenge his reason for being there.
His latest show “Careful What You Wish For” is a long way from simply being a Muppet show for grown-ups. The lavish setting features three giant hi-tech television screens which provide a constantly changing, brightly coloured background to the onstage performance.
Strassman’s script is fresh, thought-provoking and hilariously funny. His puppet characters get away with murder with their outrageous, politically incorrect comments, which would be offensive if uttered by anyone else, but which seem hilarious, and even endearing, when uttered by cheeky dolls.
All the favourite characters are there. Chuck Wood, constantly subverting and goading Strassman, who, surprisingly demonstrates how he can move and talk without the assistance of Strassman, until, at one point, Chuck appeared to suffer a technical breakdown, requiring Strassman to repair him onstage, in full view of the audience. This was done with such panache that when the audience left the theatre, they left wondering whether Chuck really had broken down or whether it was just part of the show.
Ted. E. Bear is there of course, as is Sid the smart-arsed beaver, and Grandpa Fred. After interval we even meet Kevin, the intergalactic space traveller, and finally a trio of singing baby dinosaurs, all of whom inhabit an extraordinary and delightful world in this imaginatively conceived, fast moving show full of surprises, laughter...and rude words.