Last night I was at The Lord Roberts to see the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre do Shakespeare – a show title that I constantly had to check just to make sure I’d got all of the words in the right order. It is also an accurate title, as the performer was definitely Scottish, spoke in a falsetto, had sock puppets, his own little theatre and Shakespeare was indeed done.
This was a technically pleasing performance. The man behind the puppets (Sutherland), easily managed to synchronise the actions of both hands, even whilst they were doing different things (probably far harder to do in practice than one would think). It was also a creative show, with songs, puns, cross-talk conversations and some nicely accessible Shakespeare based gags. The audience loved it, but whilst I could admire the intelligence behind it and the elan with which it was pulled off, I can’t say that I enjoyed it as much as I perhaps should have done.
I think the reason for me not having as much fun as everyone else is that I’ve seen something not too dissimilar before. Having a duo on stage, with one wanting to do a highbrow, intellectual show and the other constantly subverting the process is straight up Morecambe and Wise and all it needed was to close by singing Bring me Sunshine to tick that last box. This is a music hall show, albeit one performed by sock puppets. I would argue that this format gives Sutherland a lot more artistic freedom than any flesh and blood double act would have, plus something of a licence to do puns that no one would want to perform looking an audience in the eye.
This is a daft hour, but also a fun hour and whilst not for me, the rest of the room thoroughly enjoyed it.