Entertainment Hive 2020

David Strassman in iTedE

Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide until May 29

Review by Honey B

Watching David Strassman as he tried to unravel his eclectic bunch of puppets from their digital worlds was a fascinating experience. Strassman has become concerned that in this 21 st  century everyone, not only his beloved puppets, are content to let the world pass them by as people choose to live via their screens. The twist, however, is that to bring home this pertinent message Strassman used cutting edge technology to prove his point. The show began in Strassman’s workshop, which featured an elaborate, bold and vivid backdrop, and saw the popular ventriloquist and his lovable sidekick Ted E Bare rehearsing their latest show. Of course, the rude and crude Chuck Wood was there to add a quip or two. The new show slowly builds up up to take the form of a TED talk but as Strassman practiced with his puppets it was lovely to see the traditional puppet ventriloquist relationship. Audiences were treated to the introductions of six of Strassman’s puppets – each of which he likened to a part of his psyche. The lovable and naive Ted E Bare represents the inner-child; the naughty, foul-mouthed Chuck Wood is his devilish streak; Kevin the Alien is his memory/logical thinking side; Sid Beaverman is the entertainer in Strassman; the elderly Grandpa Fred Bare is his fatherly side and Buttons the alcoholic Clown rounds out Strassman’s split personalities with a thankfully brief appearance. Ted E and Chuck were definitely crowd favourites – who can resist the adorable Ted E? And Chuck was simply wrong with a one-liner for every occasion! As the show progressed, ever so slowly little bits of technology were introduced. The second act opened with Strassman and his five puppet friends (excluding Buttons) all wired up ready for the TED talk. It doesn’t take long for the five puppets to completely confuse the issue as Strassman tries to hold his own in this exhaustive six-way conversation, which is absolutely mind-blowing when you stop to realise it’s essentially one crazy man talking and arguing with himself. Ironically, the technology Strassman started off railing against and that initially could spoil a night at out the theatre enhanced the evening as the ridiculously talented ventriloquist not only showed off his vocal skills but gave a searing performance controlling all of these puppets with a wireless hand-held control. Strassman always was and is the true master of puppets. Don’t miss his show.
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