06/08/2016 - 28/08/2016
27/02/2013 - 02/03/2013
22/02/2012 - 25/02/2012
14/01/2016 - 23/01/2016
13/03/2014 - 16/03/2014
PULP FICTION WITH STRINGS ATTACHED
Killing time between theatre shows? Watch a scene. Killing a night? Come to three. Pulp aficionado? Come every night for a week and get the whole film! Puppet Fiction – it’s Pulp Fiction with some strings attached – PUPPET STRINGS!
Venue: The Pit Bar at BATS Theatre
Performance Dates: Wed 22 Feb – Sat 25 Feb 2012
Wed 29 Feb to Sat 3 March
Three times a night: 6.45pm, 8.15pm and 9.45pm.
PULLING THE STRINGS OF PULP FICTION
After two extremely successful sell-out seasons in Wellington, Present Company are proud to bring the ultimate Tarantino homage Puppet Fiction to the Basement Theatre from 27 February to 2 March for the Auckland Fringe Festival in 2013!
Pulp Fiction was an instant cult classic. A genre-busting and seven time Oscar nominated film about the lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster’s wife, and a pair of diner bandits as they intertwined in four tales of violence and redemption.
Puppet Fiction was also an instant hit playing homage to the mighty film, with 40cm tall replicates of the main characters. They performed 35 shows over 3 weeks of the NZ Fringe Festival in Wellington to packed houses and took out the award for Best Performance Design with a runner up to Best New Concept then went on to pack out houses for another 12 shows in the middle of winter.
Obviously the concept of puppets dealing with, and dealing out such violence, humour, love, lust, drugs, signs from God, heavy and eccentric dialogue is enthralling, curious and automatically hilarious; adding to the experience is the joy of live puppetry; a stuck jaw, awkward effects, the tangle of strings during a love scene. The cast of three, led by amazing puppeteer Jon Coddington and rounded out with the talents of Anya Tate-Manning and renown comedian James Nokise, will triumph over every pending disaster while portraying all of your favourite characters, under the direction of Hannah Clarke.
“The tight team work hard beneath their relaxed exteriors. It’s a big and arguably insane task they have taken on” – John Smythe, Theatreview.
The film has been broken down into the main storylines and each night one 40 minute slice of the film will be played out in its own way. Come for one show and a good giggle while you remember what is was that made this film so great, or for the real Pulp aficionados come along every night to see the whole film weave together.
“A barkingly implausible, bat-shit crazy late night cult piece of weird.” – Geoff Pinfield
Auckland Fringe runs from 15 February to 10 March 2013. For more Auckland Fringe information go to www.aucklandfringe.co.nz
PUPPET FICTION plays:
27th, 28th February, 1st and 2nd March 2013, 10pm
Venue: The Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Avenue, Auckland CBD
Tickets: It’s a koha show, and Pumpkin and Honey Bunny want to see what you’ve got in your wallet!
Come once and see a story, come three times and see the whole film.
“A barkingly implausible, bat-shit crazy late night cult piece of weird.”
“I cannot commend this puppet show too highly. It is an utterly unique and singular theatrical experience so smartly and endearingly executed you wonder why no one had thought of it sooner. It succeeds brilliantly on a number of levels…. Go see it if you get the chance. Get a front row seat. This is an intimate show and being splashed with performers sweat is part of the charm.” – TOM SCOTT
“A barkingly implausible, bat-shit crazy late night cult piece of weird. Never before have I seen such fear and loathing done so well on such an epic miniature scale.” – GEOFF PINFEILD
“The tight team works hard beneath their relaxed exteriors. It’s a big and arguably insane task they have taken on. But this is a homage to a cult classic that made a big impression… and judging by the packed Pit Bar (with many turned away), there are plenty of punters… who share their nostalgic passion.” – JOHN SMYTHE THEATREVIEW
DUNEDIN FRINGE 2014
Dates: March 13, 14, 15, 16
Venue: Inch Bar
7:00pm, 8:30pm & 10:00pm (13, 14, 15)
Puppet Fiction marathon 5:00pm – 6:30pm (16)
Duration: 40 min
Online Tickets: Donation / Koha
Door Sales: Donation / Koha
Scirt World Buskers Festival 2016
A cult hit in Edinburgh, Perth, Adelaide and Wellington, Jon Coddington’s creation comes to Christchurch for the first time. Playing in three episodes, come once for a slice, three times for the whole pie, or to see the whole motherf*cking thing at once come to the marathon show on Saturday 23rd January!
“The tight team work hard beneath their relaxed exteriors. It’s a big and arguably insane task they have taken on” – Theatreview NZ
Le Tigre Bleu, Busker Park
Part One: Thur 14 Jan, Sun 17 Jan, Wed 20 Jan
Part Two: Fri 15 Jan, Mon 18 Jan, Thur 21 Jan
Part Three: Sat 16 Jan, Tue 19 Jan, Fri 22 Jan
Full Trilogy: Sat 23 Jan
Theatre , Puppetry ,
An inventive, kitsch and heart-felt honouring
Review by Naomi van den Broek 23rd Jan 2016
Puppet Fiction seems like the perfect cult homage to a film director who has throughout his career so often paid tribute to the various genres that have influenced him.
One wonders what night of drunken derangement led Jon Coddington, James Nokise and Anya Tate-Manning to decide to stage a puppet show of Pulp Fiction? But whatever the circumstance, very few of the audience that attended tonight’s performance would argue that it wasn’t a worthy moment of imbibing-based inspiration.*
The puppets are extraordinary. Coddington has done an exceptional job of realising the iconic actors / roles as marionettes. Great opportunities for riffing arise (and are fully realised by the talented cast) when guns are blue-tacked into marionette hands, when puppets try to kiss, and when strings become tangled in action sequences. And if you’ve ever wanted to see a puppet perform cunnilingus this is a bucket list moment.
There is also much delight in the attention (and sometimes intentional lack thereof) to props and set items. My absolute favourite moment of the night is the ‘motorbike’ that Butch and Fabienne ride off on. There is also something charming and delightfully low fi about the use of slides of Christchurch streets and buildings for the backdrops, never more so that when a Virus Update Notification pops up on the screen.
Coddington, Nokise and Tate-Manning manage the technical, theatrical and comedic elements of the performance without seeming to even break a sweat in the stifling tent, and Coddington’s Captain Koons (Christopher Walken) is a particular highlight.
Given that the season is played in episodes (we see Episode 3; there is a marathon of all three tonight – Saturday) we don’t get to see all of the characters or iconic moments of the film. But we were invited to ‘recite along’ with the infamous Ezekiel speech delivered by Jules who tells us, “This was a very popular passage from the mid to late 90s, an Oscar nomination passage, from when they used to nominate black people.” As Jules (pitched perfectly by Nokise) delivers the speech, many mouths of die-hard Pulp Fiction fans move along in unison.
The real delight in Puppet Fiction is when things go off book. The three players have an excellent rhythm with each other, and use these moments to provide those types of experience that we know only tonight’s audience get to see. They draw the audience in to their bizarre and quirky world with warmth and generosity. I sincerely hope that Tarantino answers their invitation and attends tonight’s full length performance. What auteur wouldn’t want to see such an inventive, kitsch and heart-felt honouring of their work?
*Assumption only on part of reviewer. This in no way should cast aspersions on the drinking habits or mental state of the cast of Puppet Fiction.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
Review by Terry MacTavish 14th Mar 2014
Glory be, Fringe is yet again filling, with its special magic, the most unexpected Dunedin venues, from the sublime to the ridiculous: the Festival Gala launching impressively with Film Noir trappings in the huge Town Hall, while next night I find myself squeezed into intimate contact with lovely strangers in the unbelievably teeny but twinkly Inch Bar.
It is the perfect spot for this delicious cult show of a cult show: the tiny but perfectly formed puppets prance on a tiny stage with tiny props, and we are right there to help the brilliant human-sized operators when things fall apart. Sometimes literally. But even losing a foot simply provides James Nokise, as Vincent, with the opportunity for wickedly funny ad-libs, or at the least a “Thank you, Hand of God” as a prop is handed up by a grinning punter crouched beneath him.
And this is the chief delight of Puppet Fiction. It is a cute idea to have the violent cult classic enacted by puppets, but it is the verbal dexterity of the puppet masters that keeps us in a ripple of amusement, creating a hilarious party atmosphere. The odd slow patch is forgiven when the character is grumbling, “The trouble with this section is, I have no jokes… told you you should have hired De Niro!… We’ll just stand here in awkward silence…”
The actor/operators are in impeccable, nonchalant control, and the audience adores them. Nokise is brilliant, but Anya Tate-Manning and Jon Coddington are also delightfully relaxed yet quick-thinking, and it is their handling of the fluffs that inspires the increasing hilarity of the crowded bar.
The puppets themselves, created by Coddington, are gorgeous: clever caricatures of faces with the best noses ever, and jointed arms with splayed fingers that are marvellously expressive. The set is a television screen, which means that when we move from the diner to a collapsible cardboard car (“We’re really shit at building cars – this is why they don’t let us do children’s theatre. I’m steering with my dick!”) it is our own Dunedin we recognise rushing past the window.
The gruesome humour of the movie is recreated with relish, the audience is viciously threatened (“I’ll execute every one of you mother-fuckers – this is not a drill!” snarls sweet Tate-Manning), but the black comedy of Pulp Fiction translates irresistibly to puppets. Well, they’ve been making us laugh at violence since Punch and Judy, after all.
On a nearby floor cushion I see a friend, a caring tender-hearted teacher of children with learning disabilities, who surprisingly turns out to be a rabid Pulp Fiction fan. She is loving this so much she is aggressively determined to stay for the following two performances, which complete the story: rapes, heroin overdoses and all.
I suggest you too menace your way up the queue outside the Inch Bar to see at least one show. You won’t be disappointed. If you’re lucky you’ll catch gems like this: “I’ve screwed up the lines – still getting images of stewardesses from the riff we did earlier…” A knock-out.
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Has cult smash written all over it
Review by Hannah Smith 28th Feb 2013
“Everybody be cool, this is a puppet show.” Puppet Fiction is one of those ridiculous but brilliant ideas: bringing the cult film to the stage in marionette form. To quote the blurb, the concept is “bat-shit crazy,” but Pulp Fiction is a classic, and anyone who enjoyed it (and seriously, who doesn’t) will find this show rewarding.
The puppets are incredible – lovingly made, well-observed, and with loads of character, even in repose. Jon Coddington is a gifted artist and a craftsman – and his John Travolta impersonation is totally credible, too. The action is performed in front of a TV screen; convenient for displaying the credits and showing a few scene changes, and behind which a bit of stage management happens.
The cast are strong, sweating their way through tricksy bits and taking the inevitable mistakes in their stride. James Nokise particularly shines, especially as he is the quickest with his adlibs and off the cuff witticisms.
The game of the show lies in watching the puppeteers struggle; eating, kissing, shooting up: these are all tricky things to do with a 30cm tall marionette. But the limitations and off-the-cuff responses to it are half of the humour. The rest comes from that excellent script.
I walked away from this show hungry to watch Pulp Fiction again. In Auckland they are performing the movie in segments, so you’ll have to keep coming back if you want to see all your favourite parts.
And in terms of seeing everything, the puppets are small so get in quick to get a seat front and centre – otherwise there will be stuff you miss. This show has cult smash written all over it. They are heading off to Adelaide next, where I expect them to be a hit. Get in now and check it out.
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