So, are you in town – Melbourne Town – over Easter? From the 23rd of March through to the 17th of April Melbourne hosts one of the world’s best comedy festivals with acts from all over the globe. A good friend of mine and friend to the blog and podcast, Rob Lloyd has an extremely unique show debuting at the festival. In fact, it’s fair to say you won’t find anything quite like it at the festival. It’s a show involving puppets, custom made puppets manipulated by some of Melbourne’s finest puppeteers. Not only is it a puppet show, it’s also improvised and features a string of guest appearances by well-known Australian comedians and actors.
So, the other day I sat down with Rob and Caitlin Yolland, a puppeteer and improviser in the show, and we had a short interview. We also recorded a short video as well which I’ve included to give you some idea of what to expect. So, if you only see one show this comedy festival, do yourself a favour and make it ‘The Mighty Little Puppet Show’. Tickets are only $25 for an adult, and are available HERE.
ANDREW: Hi Rob. What inspired you to create a puppet show for the MICF?
ROB: The Muppets inspired me to be a comedian – they taught me everything about comedy. After seeing ‘Puppet-Up!’ by the Jim Henson Workshop I realised I wanted to create my own version of a puppet show with improvisation.
ANDREW: So Rob, tell us a little about the show that people can see this comedy festival.
ROB: Well, we have six custom built puppets calmed ‘The Ritas’, we have a big board filled with eyes and noses, we have four of Melbourne’s best impro puppeteers, we have a very special guest EVERY night and we have Melbourne’s best host. Each night we create new scenes, stories, and characters. No two shows are the same!
ANDREW: What in particular excites you about doing this show?
ROB: It’s a type of impro puppet show that’s never been done before. Having the Rita’s blank face which you can build characters on to (with our selection of eyes and noses) means we have an unlimited range of characters to explore and create. Also puppets automatically respond and react in far more extreme ways than humans do. That excites me – to see what responses we get from our Ritas.
ANDREW: Who are some of the special guests who will be gracing the Mighty Little Puppet Show Stage?
ROB: We have Geoff Paine who’s an impro legend from Spontaneous Broadway, TV viewers in the ‘80s might remember him from ‘Neighbours’ and also ‘The Adventures of Lano and Woodly’ early this century. Emily Taylor – award winner solo performer and improviser with Playback Theatre (who has her own solo show at the comedy festival this year). Heath McIvor – puppeteer extraordinaire and Randy from Australian comedy duo ‘Sammy J and Randy’.
ANDREW: When people see the show, what is it most likely to remind them of?
ROB: You’ll certainly see elements of ‘The Muppet Show’ in our show given that human/puppet interaction is our main focus. I’m fascinated to explore how humans and puppets exist and how both influence each other.
ANDREW: What’s it like being part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival?
ROB: Fun, inspiring, exhausting, frustrating and arousing!
ANDREW: What age group have you aimed the show at?
ROB: It’s not age restrictive, we purposely haven’t aimed at an adults only audience. After seeing ‘Puppet Up’, which was sold as a ‘adults only’ show I was excited at the possibility of doing an improvised puppet show open to all ages.
ANDREW: So Rob – when, where and how can people get tickets?
ROB: Get your tickets from the Comedy Festival Website. (use the trybooking website). It’s running from Thursday the 24th of March to Sunday the 3rd of April, at 7.30pm every night except for Monday when there is no show, at the Upstairs Lounge @HairySister, just around the corner from the Melbourne Town Hall on Little Collins Street.
Thanks to Rob for his time and for gracing the blog! For more information on the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, visit their website HERE.
More information on the show at – http://www.roblloyd.com.au/
Or check out the Mighty Little Puppet Show Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/events/521012521407970/
Thanks for reading, and May the Journey Never End!