“Maybe it’ll be like Team America.“
That’s what Stephen said, a little wistfully, when I told him I was heading to see Coppertone last night. And yes, like Team America, there are puppets who do naughty goofy things – leave the kids at home – that will make you laugh out loud. But this was more fun.
Maybe because the three puppets in this performance are so large, so goofy, yet strangely believable characters, down and out, drinking on the wrong side of Puppet Town to a Screamin’ Jay Hawkins soundtrack. There’s Coppertone (Director Matthew Posey), a losing gambler in trouble with the mob. Shinickwa (Walter Hardts) is a pregnant prostitute with a fear of dogs. And Monte Habarr (Xander Aulson) is an Eastern European dive bar owner who happens to love Wheel of Fortune. Posey says they’re a Texas twist on Bunraku puppetry, life-size foam rubber dolls each manipulated by a black-clad, masked cast member.
Maybe the fun comes from the theater itself: Ochre House is part storefront, part living room – literally, since Posey lives in back. Comfy.
Maybe it’s just time for puppet disco and slo-mo, strobe-lit puppet fights. Dunno. But Posey and his “Pioneers of the Suavante-Garde” are cutting some loopy trails, a hoot to wander.
Want a second opinion? Here’s Lawson Taitte’s DMN review.