Fringe review: SUM: A Shadow Puppet Reading Of David Eagleman’s Tales From The Afterlives

SUM: A SHADOW PUPPET READING OF DAVID EAGLEMANS TALES FROM THE AFTERLIVES by David Eaglemam (Sticks and Strings Theatre). At.


SUM: A SHADOW PUPPET READING OF DAVID EAGLEMANS TALES FROM THE AFTERLIVES by David Eaglemam (Sticks and Strings Theatre). At Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse. July 9 8:30 pm, July 10 10 pm, July 11 4 pm, July 13 9:15 pm, July 15 4 pm. See listing. Rating: NNN

Do you ever wonder what happens after we die? David Eagleman does. He wrote a fascinating collection of 40 stories about what might happen to us. Sticks and Strings Theatre then picked 16 and made an absolutely charming shadow puppet show about them.

The two lab-coated narrators (Stephanie Malek and Nug Nahrgang) look like clinicians recording an old-timey sci-fi radio show. A ubiquitous electronic hum adds to the atmosphere. On the other side of the stage, there are two people in scrubs and safety glasses with microphones creating a live soundtrack and effects. I cant decide if its a 1950s radio show, Im in someones laboratory experiment, or the waiting room of the afterlife no matter, its got a quirky and fun vibe.

At the centre of the stage, shadow puppets, animations and conventional puppetry create fantastical and sometimes mystical worlds. Together they complement the style and content of Eaglemans writing. The puppetry of Kyle Maenz, Carolyn Anderson and Alice Cavanagh is, for the most part, smooth and tightly choreographed with the stories.

The design is simple yet eye-catching: realistically proportioned humans traverse cartoonish landscapes a human transforms into a horse anthropomorphized foxes search for love.

Meditations on death and the afterlife have never been so lively.

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