Puppets make everything better. Or at least weirder. You know Forgetting Sarah Marshall? That joke — the Dracula musical — works so well because of just the sheer incongruity of puppets and horror. (Okay, many would argue puppets by themselves equal horror.) This morning, the A.V. Club mentioned another puppet performance, notable and interesting because it’s not what you would expect, at all.
Rough House Theater here in Chicago is currently running a weekend show, “Murder Ballads,” March 9 – 25. Their press describes the show as:
Rough House announces their newest and most intimate production to date: Murder Ballads. Murder Ballads utilizes ventriloquism, shadow puppetry and toy theater to stage five songs of murder.
Directed by Mike Oleon, each ballad tells the tale of a murder, either from the victim’s point of view, the killer’s, or an outside eye. The pieces range from traditional murder ballads to contemporary songs one might be surprised to discover had such dark underpinnings. These include adaptations of works by Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Barry Manilow and two original songs composed by company member Max Wirt.
I know, they had me at the title “Murder Ballads” too. A.V. Club also did the favor of recording a dress rehearsal of the Nick Cave number (”The Curse of Millhaven”), for anyone who wants to vicariously experience puppet madness from the safety of their house. I love it.
Rough House is currently accepting funding and if you’re interested, you should check that out here.
And just because. “DRACULA MUSICAL!”