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Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre Do Shakespeare
The Bill Murray
16th August 2017


Publicity image for Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre Do Shakespeare

Photography provided by the Camden Fringe

Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre Do Shakespeare needs no introduction - not least because the name explains what the show is about pretty damn well. A concept need not be intricate and lofty (nor particularly sane, for that matter) in order to be successful. Behold Kev F Sutherland, the man who dared put silly eyes on the ends of socks, give them ridiculous voices, dress them up in snazzy outfits and have them celebrate the Immortal Bard.

It seems that everything was thought of. The crowd was engaged even before the show started, with recorded falsetto sock puppet songs playing to warm them up. The buzz of anticipation that it created was tangible - they knew they were in for a good show.

And so it began. Two socks. After a warm-up song introducing our two performers, the pair launch - or try to launch - into the subject matter, only to have it descend repeatedly into arguments and misunderstandings. At once a tribute to the Sweet Swan of Avon and a musical, this show is a laugh a minute - or, to be more precise, a laugh every seven or eight seconds. That's as much as I'm prepared to say of the plot (hint: go and see it).

Did a couple of minor things go wrong? Maybe. If they weren't meant to happen then Sutherland recovered from them brilliantly, and they got a big laugh - so none of it mattered. There may not be any such thing as a perfect show, but keep it moving and the audience on your side, and you've won. The production - even though it was two Scottish sock puppets with high voices doing old theatre, in case you had somehow forgotten – also managed to be relevant to the world around it, with references to the location and a quick-thinking nod to current affairs. All of this serves to bring the piece alive just that little bit more.

What's more, despite crouching behind a screen in a very narrow space, Sutherland managed to bounce off the audience as if he could see them. They responded by remaining in hysterics from start to finish; indeed, one spectator behind me sounded like they were taking off at one point.

Whilst the main point of it is obviously Shakespeare, I hasten to add that this is definitely not just for connoisseurs - far from it, in fact the range of works covered ensures that everyone can relate. It certainly helped to have some well-read spectators there, but a smattering of Blur and some of Taylor Swift's earlier works will put you in just as good stead to enjoy it all. And if all else fails, it's two ridiculous sock puppets with silly voices, for goodness' sake.

In staging this, Sutherland set a considerable challenge with a high bar – don't be fooled, as sock puppetry is no child's play. Especially not when they're also falsetto, and doing Shakespeare. Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre Do Shakespeare is equal parts reverent (to the Bard, who no doubt is grateful of the publicity), and irreverent (to miserable puritans who misguidedly believe that argumentative Scottish sock puppets have no place in historical theatre).

Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre Do Shakespeare opened on 16th August and runs until 17th August 2017 at The Bill Murray, as part of the Camden Fringe.

Nearest tube station: Essex Road (National Rail)

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