PUPPET-DELPHIA FRINGE SLAM (Pantea Productions): 2019 Fringe review

Gina Leigh was the MC and Aaron Lathrop played a professor in the 2019 edition of  PUPPET-DELPHIA FRINGE SLAM

Gina Leigh was the MC and Aaron Lathrop played a professor in the 2019 edition of PUPPET-DELPHIA FRINGE SLAM

Most people think of puppetry as Big Bird or Lamb Chop entertaining the kiddies. Anyone who saw the PUPPET-DELPHIA cabaret of puppet acts both local and imported (from Phoenix, and New York City and state) Saturday night knows it’s also an art form capable of delivering deep truths and outrageous fun.

Gemma is made of cloth and yarn. Still, that did not diminish the pathos of the monologue she delivered in the guise of an Overeaters Anonymous share with the help of puppeteer Cabot Parsons. The primitiveness of his sock puppet characters actually helped further Gavin Cummins’s message about what a primitive emotional level we’re all operating on. One of his sock puppet skits helped explain how the abused can become abusers despite its lack of understandable language; the other featured only a man’s name, repeated over and over in ways that displayed the whole range of human (and puppet) feeling.

Cummins two shadow puppet pieces demonstrated how much pure fun still can be derived from an overhead projector and some radio theater acting skill even in this Internet age.

But the audience choice were the night’s two most ribald bits: Clown Aubrey Clinedinst’s Frozen parody about periods, and Professor Aaron Lathrop’s naughty puppet history lesson featuring a string puppet you will never see on Sesame Street.

[Theatre Exile, 1340 S. 13th St.] September 21, 2019fringearts.com/event/puppet-delphia-fringe-slam-3

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About the author

Carolyn Wyman

Carolyn Wyman is the author of seven food books and was copy chief at Philadelphia City Paper, before its untimely demise. She currently leads food tours at Reading Terminal Market and writes the Philly Food Finds column about signature dishes at local eateries for philly.com. Learn more at carolynwyman.com.