THE LOST SUPPER created by the company, directed by Mark Cassidy, with Anne Barber, Brad Harley, Mark Keetch, Noah Kenneally and Clea Minaker. Presented by Shadowland at the Tarragon Extra Space (30 Bridgman). Runs to October 9, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2:30 pm. $15-$25, Sunday pwyc-$15, some discounts. 416-531-1827. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Few events bond people as strongly as a communal meal, so it's no surprise that Shadowland Theatre connects so well with its audience in the puppetry-inspired The Lost Supper .
A dinner party for seven life-size, big-head puppets, manipulated and voiced by the five talented creators who act as the meal's waiters, turns into an evening of vibrant storytelling.
The tasty theatrical celebration, directed by Mark Cassidy , begins with the guests arriving during a storm (is the dinner a haven from nasty external forces?) and moves from an etiquette lesson to a tale of gluttony, from a farmer's everyday trials to a French country adventure and a vodka-stoked visit to Russia.
The company, bringing an oxymoronic blend of delicate subtlety and great energy to the show - as well as some entertaining ad libs - endows kitchen implements, wooden blocks and liquor bottles with humour, sensuality and the occasional touch of nostalgia.
They're nicely abetted by Rebecca Picherack 's lighting and David Buchbinder 's sound design.
The cleverness of the design and presentation constantly impresses, right down to a miraculous soup bowl that holds more dreams and memorabilia than a magician's top hat. But it's the final moments that truly amaze, when the stage fills with dancing figures and life bubbles to a boil on the stage.
The warmth and vitality generated by this grassroots company should be the envy of larger troupes.