You might guess from the title of the puppetry show, They Came From Uranus, that this Midsumma offering is at the less-subtle end of the theatre cosmos. Yes, but it also has some wild visuals, an up-tempo soundtrack, and a performance style that’s out of this world.
Aliens on Uranus are horny little pervs. From following Earth’s broadcasts, they’ve become obsessed with a social-media influencer and burlesque dancer – the thicc Miss Candy Carcrashian.
She’s now in danger of being abducted by a raiding party. Although the aliens of Uranus have mastered inter-stellar flight, they must be impaired by their horniness. They have trouble distinguishing between humans, or even telling the difference between humans and other Earth lifeforms…
It helps to just accept this kind of silliness and go along for the ride. Between animated news updates of alien movements, or interludes of amusing shadow puppetry, puppeteer Murray Raine performed from a mini burlesque theatre. Raine lip-synched to tracks from Copacabana up to quite recent songs, whilst animating his characters in some curious ways.
A distinctive feature of the show is the use of “humanettes” – puppets that sit underneath the puppeteer’s head. Much attention was given to Raine’s elaborate prop hairstyles and outfits (by Isaac Lummis) that suited the action, much of it in Carcrashian’s workplace – Busty Barb’s Burlesque Bar.
There are “20 sexsational Humanettes” in this one-hour show. At times it felt that some of the musical numbers were a shoe-horned into the story. Also, some of the puppetry spots unfolded in quite similar ways, and the enthusiasm of the applause seemed to cool after some early sequences.
However, some routines, such as one to Right Said Fred’s I’m Too Sexy, benefitted from a having genuine surprise as they progressed. The show certainly appealed through high-energy bursts of ridiculousness, such as an attempt at digital courtship by a visiting alien.
This is a well-produced show likely to hold particular interest for those who like campy theatre, trashy sci-fi, or puppetry.
They Came From Uranus
The MC Showroom, 50 Clifton Street, Prahran
Performance: Wednesday 24 January 2024
Season continues to 27 January 2024
Information and Bookings: www.midsumma.org.au
They Came From Uranus will also be presented at the Palais-Hepburn, Hepburn Springs on Saturday 9 March 2024, as part of the 2024 Chillout Festival.
Image: They Came From Uranus (supplied)
Review: Jason Whyte