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Puppet master: Kingsland writer Stephen Lunt is tackling Shakespeare with a cast of puppets in his show A Midsummer Mess.
Photo: JASON OXENHAM
By JESS LEE
Auckland Fringe festival
The puppets are a bit
naughtier. There is
HALF of the cast is made from felt so
A Midsummer Mess is definitely not
your typical take on a classic.
The madcap comedy is Shake-
speare at breakneck speed -- with
It is the brainchild of Kingsland-
based writer/director Stephen Lunt
and is one of the latest offerings from
the Auckland Fringe festival.
If anyone thought Shakespeare
was boring before, they certainly
won't think so after,'' Mr Lunt says.
Three actors and three puppets
will tackle 12 characters in the one-
hour show based on the play A Mid-
summer Night's Dream.
It's a completely busy, farcical
show and I think that's what adds to
the comedy because it's three people
doing absolutely everything -- it gets
a bit manic.''
Mr Lunt was inspired by the team
behind the American musical Avenue
Q to give traditionally fluffy and
loveable puppets an edge.
A Midsummer Mess is a bit more
adult than A Midsummer Night's
Dream -- the puppets are a bit
There is some outrageous flirt-
The classic play lends itself to a
modern twist, he says.
I find it hilarious.
I really like the idea of having the
puppet as an extension of the actor's
body and everything they do,
the puppet does.''
The English-born actor is a
bit of a dab hand at pup-
picked up the skill
puppets and use
their voices and
bodies to project
while holding the half-body puppets
on one arm.
It's a steep learning process to get
to know the puppet and learn the
different techniques,'' Mr Lunt says.
The performers certainly have
their work cut out getting to grips
with the material on stage but find-
ing puppets that were up to
the challenge was a task in
Mr Lunt was
able to pull some
strings to track
down good quality
models which will
be used for the
Working as a
actor in New Zea-
land is a whole world away from the
tough scene in the UK, he says.
There's a lot more support for
theatre here which is great because
it really encourages writers and
actors to go and get more involved,''
Mr Lunt says.
Auckland Fringe director Michael
Keating says Mr Lunt's A Midsum-
mer Mess is a great addition to the
This year's Fringe is going to be
more concentrated and buzzing and
shows like this fit really well into
that kind of programme.''
A Midsummer Mess, Whammy Bar, St
Kevin's Arcade, Karangahape Rd from
February 27 to March 1 at 6.30pm.
Go to iticket.co.nz for tickets.
Auckland Fringe is bringing another
programme of innovative shows to
the city from February 15 to March
10.More than 115 events from both
new and established artists
performed in theatres, streets,
parks, plazas, churches, halls,
kitchens, lofts, basements, fales,
silos, and swimming pools across
the city will be part of the 24-day
festival. Myers Park will host the
free opening event of the festival,
Fringe in the Park, on February 16
from noon till 4pm.
Scores of Fringe performers will
give event-goers a glimpse into
their acts through showcases and
Go to aucklandfringe.co.nz for
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