The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppets return to this year’s Fringe with their latest offering; a show sure to warm your cockles and your feet. The subject of their exploration this year is the circus and they expertly weave a comical narrative which mistakenly blends The Greatest Showman and The Greatest Story Ever Told, resulting in mix-ups between musical numbers and biblical stories.
The puppets are operated by a single performer, but their identities are so fleshed out and individual that it quickly becomes impossible to believe that they are being voiced by one person. They fulfil the classic comic duo of a clever leader and inept supporter, with the latter constantly threatening to derail the show due to either extended tangents or a lack of knowledge.
“It’s as silly as it sounds and is delivered with an infectious relish and panache”
One of the show’s highlights is the early musical number: ‘I’m A Sock’, which brazenly and amusingly acknowledges the show’s gloriously silly premise with true metatheatrical verve. It also delivers a series of hilarious and progressively rude words which rhyme with ‘sock’. I’ll leave you to deduce where that goes. Moreover, it opens with a homemade title sequence which imitates the thundering drums and trumpet of 20th Century Fox – all voiced by the one performer of course – with a sign then held up which reads ‘20th Century Sox’. Another brilliant song comes at the end, when the puppets cram as many swear words as they can into a single verse. It’s as silly as it sounds and is delivered with an infectious relish and panache.
The only major issue with Roll Up! is that its humour is so rapid-fire and constant that it is occasionally difficult to keep up with the quickly evolving storyline. There are clearly members of the audience who are Sock Puppet initiates and it certainly feels as though this is a show which benefits from repeat viewing once the basic premise and pace has been understood and assimilated. This issue was exacerbated by the claustrophobic nature of the venue in which the show was performed and issues with sound which made the dialogue occasionally difficult to distinguish over music cues and effects.
On the whole, however, this is a riotous and irreverent late night production which delivers humour true to the vaudevillian and native roots of this Scottish festival.
Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: Roll Up has now finished its run at Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose – Dram.
Image: Kev F Sutherland