I just saw The Great Puppet Horn and boy do I need to catch my breath. Jeremy Bidgood and Lewis Young present their shadow puppet comedy-satire show at a breakneck speed, something like watching an extremely successful long-form set in fast forward, but with y’know… shadow puppets. Zany, enthusiastic and positively ADD in delivery, the two fly through scenes and cardboard characters, littering the stage with their props and their wit. Their pace will either leave you in the dust, or pump your heart rate up to sprinting levels and either way they will be way ahead of you if you stop to ask ‘Wait… what?’
Not merely a gimmick, the puppets are well constructed and well operated and they help tell a global-scale, cinematically complicated story. They are also plenty silly. Sometimes the word puppets is enough to scare folks away, or is an assumed euphemism for ‘toddler friendly,’ but don’t mistake: The Great Puppet Horn is something like Adult Swim Live. The show careens through various political and social satires and, while the writing is certainly intelligent, there are also plenty of retro pop-culture references to keep you grinning if you don’t feel like thinking, although I dare you to watch this 2D carnival without feeling your grey cells tingling. Clever and biting, but with an undeniable tenderness for the human spirit, the script, developed by Bidgood and Young along with their editor, Léonie Hamway, is unafraid and funny-cuz-it’s-true. And the puppets, man, the puppets are great.
If you can keep up with the whirlwind, you won’t be disappointed. The Great Puppet Horn will get you laughing and make you wish you hadn’t thrown out your overhead projector.