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shows Shot at the Troff. trilogy

ALL THE WAY AROUND Two vaudeville characters, part person - part contraption try and derail each other with an assortment of household objects. Defeated and realising the futility of their competition they are sucked slowly into oblivion down the back of a sofa whilst a bingo-caller drones out numbers. It is a slapstick saga of life and death, accompanied by found-object percussion, pre-recorded music and mad trumpet blowing. 20mins.

BUBBLY BEDS A beautiful and funny piece of underwater micro-theatre using live-feed video projection, specially composed music, live speech and sound. Mr & Mrs Mundane sit watching TV. They are disturbed by a bell - a distress call from auntie. Donning diving-gear Mr Mundane plunges into the flooded basement encountering the Titanic's lost band, headless dolls in concrete slippers, a supermarket trolley full of gibbering infants etc, before finding auntie in the bath unable to turn off the taps. Meanwhile upstairs Mrs Mundane is experiencing the delights of the plumber who has come to fix the leak. The piece climaxes with the plumber inadvertently saving Mr Mundane from the jaws of death. 'Bubbly Beds' uses simple puppet techniques, enhanced by an unusual medium - water. Modern technology ie video and video-projection enables us to show the action large. The audience is able to watch the action in the aquarium and miniature set as well as on the screen. Audiences have said that it is like watching the making of a film; the action on the screen - selected by the video operator being like the edited version and the action in the aquarium being like the take with onscreen action and offscreen entrances and exits included. Bubbly Beds is still touring as a seperate piece. 30 mins.


WAR & PEAS A disturbing tale charged with black-humour, unsavoury missiles, rivalry and revenge. On a medieval-like, mechanical stage of pulleys, pea-shooting fulcrum bodies and a not very private latrine, 3 characters joust for position trapped in a never-ending cycle of victory, persecution and defeat. 'War & Peas' was accompanied by pre-recorded and live music, sounds and rude noises. 35 mins.

Devised, constructed and performed by Gavin Glover and Liz Walker

Music composed and recorded by Hugh Nankivell.

Music played live by Jane Lawrence and Iklooshar Malara

With thanks to Yves Vasseur, Martin Smith Automata, Steve Wright, Jo Smith, Alison McGowan, Yvonne Davis, Clipstore, Stuart Blackburn, The Arts Council of England and The British Council.

What the Papers said about Shot at the Troff

Animations magazine

Shot at the Troff

Komedia Theatre, Brighton. Penny Francis, May 1998

Inconsequentiality. Absurdity. Incongruity. Fantastic and surreal imagery unlike anything seen before, but firmly rooted in high standards of fine art. Writing about Faulty Optic productions is a challenge, as always. Their latest is a trilogy of pieces with the typically improbable title of Shot at the Troff'or The Ballad of the Concrete Slippers, neither of which bears much relation to anything in the show. Although, come to think of it, some small characters with their feet encased in concrete do float to the bottom of a tank in piece two.

Piece one is the shortest and the most inconsequential, about two characters on wheels, with expressions of mild surprise and suffering, attempting to damage each other with various implements, in a simulation of a chaotic boxing match. Gloves give way to wooden spoons, furry dusters and frying pans. Eventually the adversaries disappear into a protesting sofa. Most of the audience was surprised and even more so when they emerged again as a pair of amicable wasps. Why? Doesn't matter. All this is accompanied by a variety of sounds coming from a battery of instruments. musical and otherwise, and machines at the side ofthe stage, in the controlling hands and mouth of the gifted lkloosha. As always, the puppets are operated by Liz Walker and Gavin Glover (almost invisibly, but not invisibly enough in piece two) from behind the various metallic contraptions and mechanisms of which the three different sets consist.

Piece two is longer and stronger. You wait for it through a truly elaborate change of scenery. We are eventually faced with a functional white screen on a stand to one side and centrally, a little triangular house in section, with a tiny man and woman within, and a tank of water underneath. This is their flooded cellar, it turns out, and much of the action takes place literally under water. Auntie has caused the flood and the story concerns the husband's attempt to Find her, in diving gear naturally, and the extraordinary events attending the rescue.

All is visually enhanced by live video which focuses on aspects and details of the action projected on the adjacent white screen. I especially relished the audio effects, the Birtwistle-like music and the untypical, improvised live speech of Gavin Glover. The effect of the two media, live theatre and Filmed action, is somehow dislocating as though the show had a split personality. It is all very funny and I think this will be remembered as a classic of modern puppet and object theatre. But such a pronouncement is impossibly pompous in the Faulty Optic context, whose aesthetic is the absolute opposite of pomposity. The last episode, called War and Peas is a black comedy of revenge, about two unfortunates whose fate is to be pinioned, one by one in a chair and bombarded with - well, er - a particular kind of pellet shot from a cannon. The set is another amazing con- struction. Fitted with various mechanisms. realised from ideas and images in the murky depths of the combined imagination of two (undoubtedly deranged, creative minds, that is Walker's and Glover's. It left me and much of the audience gasping. The little theatre was packed and turning people away - most of them young. The applause was enthusiastic and the three performers took many cheerful and informal bows. They seem normal enough, but they can't be. Go and see this and you'll understand what I mean. You'll also have a great time.