Canon Warriors

Punch, Fleur, Dog and Sid. ‘Punch’ is a lesbian show-woman. ‘Fleur’ is a (previously high-flying) university dropout, working part-time as a teaching assistant. ‘Dog’ is a dog puppet. ‘Sid’ is the feline counterpart. Together Punch and Fleur struggle to manage a loving relationship alongside their feminist puppetry act, Canon Warriors.

The show as a whole derives a certain poignancy from its connection with the performers themselve

It’s not quite a ‘show within a show’, but from their brief snippets of puppetry rehearsals it seems that the fictional ‘Canon Warriors’ are on a mission put the queer back into Shakespeare; or indeed any dead, white, male writer. That said, updating Renaissance classics by changing Ferdinand to ‘Ferdinanda’ isn’t quite as profound as their mission statement sets it out to be.

The show itself ultimately proves to be an endearing comedy-drama, as the couple’s make-shift beach hut living arrangement is interrupted by the re-emergence of Fleur’s old university friend, Aidan. Aidan, on a graduate employment scheme with the local council, brings a reminder not only of their imminent eviction, but also of the conventional, heterosexual, working-adult life that Fleur could still have.

Although the performers struggle at times with controlling the transitions between their heightened puppetry personas and the actual ‘drama’ of Punch and Fleur’s personal lives, the show as a whole derives a certain poignancy from its connection with the performers themselves. The real ‘meta-theatrics’ of the piece come across through watching recent university graduates play out a hypothetical reality for the struggling female artist.

Whilst the show could use some technical polish, its themes should resonate with many young and hopeful Fringe performer.

Reviews by Aoife Kennan

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The Blurb

A new play about Punch and Fleur, the premier feminist puppeteers in Thanet. Well, they’re the only feminist puppeteers in Thanet. Living in a beach hut in November is tough. It leads to wearing many layers, fetching water from the public toilets, and getting banned from M&S for shoplifting. But they manage. Then Aidan, an acquaintance from Fleur’s university days, arrives with an eviction notice from Thanet District Council. Can Punch and Fleur and their puppets, Dog and Sid, overcome the odds to defeat the male-dominated literary canon, and Aidan, the man from the council?

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