Pillow Fight by Spare Parts Puppet Theatre is a children’s play and puppet show that delves into the mysteries of sibling rivalry and bonhomie, the oscillation between antipathy and camaraderie that animates most sibling relationships. While sparring over who is to be held culpable for a past misdeed, a brother and sister duo, Shane and Nadia, retrace and recreate their childhood games in order to definitively determine who was in the wrong on the day in question. Unexpectedly but endearingly, they rediscover their affection for each other in the process.
Their fun childhood adventures are enacted with puppets. From a frolicking jaunt into magical forests to a raucous adventure in outer space and finally a courtroom denouement, the puppets in the show cover a vast terrain and take the viewer on a joyous journey.
This is a delightfully clever show designed and presented by talented creators. The dexterous performers, Shane Adamczak and Nadia Martich, move seamlessly between spellbinding live-action and puppeteering segments, showcasing their versatility and perfect sense of timing. Their puppeteering and vocal skills are amazing and they perform their roles so enthusiastically.
The stage design is innovative; a bedroom and bunk beds double up as a platform or stage-within-a-stage for the puppets. The lighting design skilfully incorporates shadow puppetry with silhouettes into the performance. The puppets themselves, from fairy tale creatures to robots and aliens, have been designed and created by clever minds and meticulous hands. Puppets refashioned from nostalgia-inducing 1980s and 90s memorabilia vivify the concluding segment of the show.
There is something magical about the confluence of the performing arts and handicrafts in puppeteering. It transports the viewer back to a time and space in childhood that is unconstrained by the ready-made play afforded by digital technology, where the untrammelled imagination must conceive of the tools and generate the substance of adventure.
This show demonstrates the enduring appeal of the hands-on art of puppeteering. The incredible stagecraft of the performers and the ingenuity of the designers and creatives involved in Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, a WA institution and gem, make the experience of watching the craft come to life all the more enjoyable.
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre
Claremont Showground, Perth
Director and co-Creator: Philip Mitchell
Writer and co-Creator: Sam Longley
Designer: Leon Hendroff
Composer: Lee Buddle
Lighting designer: Megan Fitzgerald
Puppet Makers: Leon Hendroff, Jackson Harrison, Shane Adamczak
Production Manager: Megan Fitzgerald
Co-Creators: Alicia Osyka, Shane Adamczack
Performers: Nadia Martich, Shane Adamczak
Pillow Fight will be performed until 26 January 2024.