Review: The Daisy Theatre (Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes)

Schnitzel-2

The Daisy Theatre is Heartwarming and Enlightening

I had no idea what to expect when I sat down in The Factory Theatre’s studio theatre. All I really knew is that The Daisy Theatre was an adult puppet show. I couldn’t conceive of what a puppet show that had banished children would be like. When the show had finished and the audience rose in a standing ovation, I thought: Oh, that’s what they meant.

The Daisy Theatre is said to be different every time. Ronnie Burkett has an arsenal of puppets back stage, and he picks different ones for each performance, improvising dialogue and audience interaction. For the show I witnessed, most of the jokes were for the Toronto-centric crowd. They were jabs at our hipster urbanites, nods to our neighbourhoods, and inside-jokes about the city’s theatre community. It was absolutely fantastic. As someone who’s city-born and raised, I felt like I was part of this secret club, even though a nagging part in the back of my head reminded me that he probably did the same thing back in Calgary. I still couldn’t help but love the lie.

The whole point of Daisy Theatre is falling in love with the lie. I watched as Ronnie Burkett hovered over the stage in plain sight, manipulating the puppets and doing all the voices. I could see the puppetmaster and still I was completely captivated by the puppets. I could see behind the curtain and still believed the magic in front of it.

Burkett was hilarious and sharp-witted for most of the performance, but I was completely thrown off guard by the scenes of genuine sweetness. I was touched by vignettes of a charming old widow who misses her husband and of Schnitzel, the daisy-headed dreamer who just wants to fly. By the end of the play I had to remind myself that these weren’t just characters, they were puppets made of wood and string. I to remind myself to not try to hug wood and string.

Whether that means I have the send myself off to an institution, I don’t care. I was absolutely enthralled with the show. It was hilarious, sweet and all around a fantastic time. Burkett’s mastery over his creations is beyond impressive. I had no idea puppets could work like that. I highly recommend that you see this. It’s delightfully inappropriate and entertaining. My only warning is that the show has audience participation. If one of your nightmares is being groped by a puppet, you don’t need to skip it, but you might want to hide in the back.

Details:

  • The Daisy Theatre by Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes is playing at the Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street)
  • Performances are running until April 5th. Shows are at 8:00pm from Tuesdays to Thursdays and on Sundays. Shows are at 9:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Tickets are $30. You can purchase your tickets by visiting the box office at Factory Theatre, calling the box office at 416 504 9971 or online.

Photo credit: Alejandro Santiago

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