Despite strong visuals and music, this shadow puppet space opera fails to launch
SPACE HIPPO by Daniel Wishes (The Wishes Mystical Puppet Company). At Randolph Theatre. July 6 at 8:45 pm, July 8 at 10:30 pm, July 9 at 8:15 pm, July 11 at noon, July 12 at 5:15 pm, July 14 at noon. See listing. Rating: NN
The title alone might be enough to get you to see this colourful shadow puppet space opera, but the muddled framing device and predictable plot detract from otherwise stunning visuals and memorable music.
The story finds the titular beast blasted into space as propaganda to distract from an unavoidable ecological disaster, but once in orbit Space Hippo finds herself a pawn between two warring alien civilizations.
Brought to life via intricate, colourful cutouts and an overhead projector, the saga also includes Space Hippo’s loyal food robot, and a treacherous bounty hunter called Lizard Man, who both sound like Saturday morning cartoon characters.
With only some of the 70s piano ballad music by composer Elliott Loran performed live, Space Hippo has some dazzling and funny moments, but needs serious dramaturgy to gel as a whole.
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