REVIEW: The Daisy Theatre (Auckland International Cabaret Season)

Ronnie Burkett's Theatre of Marionettes

Heartwarming, hilarious and horny [by Sharu Delilkan and Tim Booth]

Ronnie Burkett's show gives cabaret a whole new meaning.
Ronnie Burkett’s show gives cabaret a whole new meaning.

From the moment Ronnie Burkett takes the reigns of his exquisitely handcrafted marionettes the audience is transfixed.

The myriad of characters we meet during the course of his show reel us into the seductive sexy show, The Daisy Theatre. And what a treat it is to see his motley yet riotous crew of puppets on stage tonight.

Neither of us has seen a puppet show of this calibre – with a possible 40 characters that Burkett has created, a different mix are on stage each night – and what a mix they are.

Every marionette comes fully formed and beautifully crafted – both physically and in his portrayal of each unique individual. Many of these personas sing musical numbers with bawdy lyrics and raunchy suggestiveness. Burkett is hilarious in his characterisations, his spontaneous one-liners including local references exclaiming “I’ve done my homework!!!”.

To deliver this slick sensational show Burkett often breaks the 4th wall, and even the puppeteers ‘ceiling’ in an onstage ‘Being-John-Malkovich-sort-of-way’. It all comes together to make a mesmerising and hysterically funny show that the audience adores in spades. It is a great blend of laughter, tears, song and humour all wrapped up in the strange and bizarre, the washed up, the perverted, the innocent, the sweet, and the downright disgusting. And at all times while Burkett reveals his dark, warped and mischievous mind, he delivers incomparable skilled puppetry.

Burkett is the consummate professional, never missing a beat, throughout the 105-minute solo show. His delivery is deft, delightful and faultless to a ‘tee’. And in addition to having perfect pitch throughout Burkett’s timing can only be described as flawless.

The Daisy Theatre is an apt opening night production for the Auckland International Cabaret Season. It’s edgy, sleazy, perverted and at times hilariously horny – everything that you could want from a cabaret show. The marionette’s are the ideal vehicle for Burkett to push the boundaries just that little bit further – something that probably couldn’t have been achieved to as great effect using traditional actors on stage. In fact I probably would go as far as saying that this is indeed the sexiest cabaret show I’ve seen in a very long time.

To say I absolutely loved the show is probably an understatement. It’s clever, entertaining, thought-provoking short season is not to be missed. And if you’re feeling a little adventurous get tickets in the first couple of rows – who knows, you may even end up being part of Burkett’s ingenious spectacle!

Auckland Live presents A Production of Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes, The Daisy Theatre plays at Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre until 6 September. Details see Auckland Live

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