When I think about puppetry I think about Punch and Judy, Pinocchio, The Muppets, Keith Harris and Orville! Memories from a happy childhood often requiring interaction and shouting at, talking to the puppets! I’m not sure about you, but I rarely connect puppetry with adult entertainment, (Avenue Q being the exception, and to be honest, I haven’t seen that show yet!)
So, when the opportunity popped up to experience The Clementine Show’s premiere within the intimate surrounding of Crazy Coqs at Zedel I embraced the opportunity wholeheartedly.
The backstory goes that Clementine is a doll who came to life, she is 15 inches of pure fabulousness born of Hollywood glamour, an advocate of all things sparkly and queer! Clementine, the alter ego of Mark Mander, (who also wrote, designed, made and filmed the event) is both ‘Iconic and Ironic’ as the glamorous host of The Clementine Show, a 70-minute whirlwind of a performance dedicated to the 4th of July and The United States of America!
For me, the piece is a postmodern celebration of drag and puppetry delivered via multi-media and 3D interactive performance. The piece both celebrates and provides commentary on the role of the plastic idealist image of a woman and her likeness to a doll, along with lots of laughter, song and of course puppets!
The puppetry skills are perfectly delivered by expert puppeteers, Ruth Calkin and Mark Esaias. These two performers are rather fabulous as they bring to life a few characters including Betty Bar Fly, Ricky the Rooster and Yvette the Usher, as well as re-creating and scenes from Copacabana and The Sound of Music. These performers are at one with their puppets and their on-stage personas blend into their puppetry with ease and mastery.
Mark Mander has created and performed a unique piece that really deserves recognition and applause, he dares to be different, blending various performance styles and genres to create a joyous ode to theatricality and the glamour of Hollywood.
If you’re easily offended I would stay away from the production. If however, you are the kind of person who enjoys glamour, subversion, quick-witted, acerbic political humour and of course can see yourself singing along with a puppet then pop along to The Clementine Show, monthly from September.
Review by Faye Stockley
First the basics, Clementine is a doll who has come to life, think the love child of Barbie and Pinocchio with Joan Rivers as the Godmother. In her new show, Clementine will sing, dance, act and tell stories, both live and in exquisitely crafted films. Just like Barbie, Clementine can go anywhere and do anything as long as she has the right outfit, so expect her to shamelessly raid pop culture for inspiration.
If this weren’t enough she will be joined by lots of her friends, the feathered love god Ricky Rooster, the delightful Chanteuse Betty Bar Fly and even more, all brought to life by two of the UK’s top puppeteers.There might even be the occasional human guest, check back regularly for updates!
With miniaturised glamour and huge wit, The Clementine Show is adult puppet variety at its very best – a West End Show in a shoe box. Think War Horse, but without the War, or the Horse!
The Clementine Show
Live at Zedel
20 Sherwood Street
London W1F 7ED