Basil Twist, the renowned puppeteer behind Symphonie Fantastique, Arias with a Twist and the creatures in Broadway’s The Addams Family, knows from puppets. So when Twist sees a puppetry show in Montreal and loves it enough to jump through the hoops to import it to Downtown’s HERE, that means something—and that is exactly what happened when Twist caught Companie Bakélite and puppeteer Olivier Rannou’s Stick Up!. The show, a spoof of heist thrillers, will have just six performances at HERE Dec. 16–18, and if Twist’s enthusiasm for the project carries any weight, you should buy your tickets now.
Tell us about your history with this show.
Stick Up! is a show that I saw in a puppet festival in Montreal, and it was my favorite thing by far that I had see at the festival, and one of my favorite things I had seen in a while. The panache and the real joy they took in doing it was what struck me. It was smart, funny, it moved quick, it was clever, it was satirical of popular culture.
What set Stick Up! so far apart from the rest?
It falls into a whole genre of its own, this whole objects theater where people use everyday objects and repurpose them to use in a puppetry context. It’s just done with a lot of flair. It’s basically a spoof of bank heist films or the big getaway films done in a tiny space by one really goofy and appealing performer with lots and lots of invention.
It just keeps delighting you, it’s just so hilarious and beautiful how they do it. The set looks like a shop with a bunch of industrial shelving and cleaning supplies, and they kind of turn everything into this huge, epic, exciting Tom Cruise adventure. And I’m super glad we got them here!
As director of the Dream Music Puppetry Program at HERE, what do you look for to bring back to the theater?
I’m always looking for things that are small—though this show is rather dense, and it’s going to be a squeeze to fit it into the downstairs theater. I’m just looking for something that’s original, that’s different, that shines in a way that I like. Especially if I’m going to bring something to New York, because of course there are a lot of great artists in New York I want to present. I just want it to be excellent. And this is excellently executed and wonderfully paced and timed. I want to bring the best of what I see out there.
And what do you have coming up?
Before Stickup, we’re doing the Holiday Puppet Parlor on Tuesday, which is a sort of cabaret show that we do regularly of puppetry and friends of puppetry performers. Tigger!, Dirty Martini and Julie Atlas Muz will be there, among others, so that will be a lot of fun.
Stick Up! (Braquage)
Dec. 16–18, HERE, 145 6th Ave. (at Dominick St.), www.here.org; $20.
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