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New Wolsey Studio
Eden Harbud brought his one-man puppetry show as part of the Pulse Festival. This 50-minute performance is packed with pathos. This is no Basil Brush. All dialogue is played to us with a backdrop of pop music, sometimes emotionally sung by the fox. The tale has definitely happened before, we are told.
The set comprises a couple of reading lamps, a whippy table, a green drape to represent hospital and a myriad of small props. Eden extracts a random half dozen items from an unzipped suitcase which are to form part of the show, the first of which is a flower.
The fox presents this flower from his mouth and lays it on the ground in front of his wife, a squirrel. He pulls down and reveals a banner announcing Happy Anniversary with a placard saying I Love You. The squirrel’s only response is via another placard – I’m Leaving You. Eden skilfully manipulates the fox to show that he is doubled up with grief and plunges into depression, hitting copious glugs of alcohol. Eden also offers the fox a cigarette which he accepts with a nod.
Another couple are given the spotlight. A rabbit marries a frog and rapidly produces three babies which look like socks. This relationship is also doomed as another placard announces, “I can’t do this anymore,” in due course.
The haunting Power of Love is played twice to evoke the fox’s dilemma. He also dynamically synchs to Queen’s Save Me down the telephone and is brutally cut off to his visible distress.
Eden announces that he is scared that the same will happen to him, something which we can all relate to. It is humorous to personify love and loss with animals who are sometimes ejected from the set. The underlying message is one of taking your health seriously together with the exposure of Eden’s fears.
The reality of the show is brought home as Eden’s mother and sister both interrupt him on occasions, asking, “what are you doing in there?” The scene is reminiscent of any teenager’s messy bedroom and attitude to being disturbed. The show has parallels with his own life when he offers an alternative ending, with the fox trying to ask the squirrel out for a drink. Eden stumbles over leaving an answerphone message but we are left with him successfully ringing his date, giving us a positive conclusion.
This was a cleverly creative piece of theatre, enjoyed by its small audience.