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shows TunnelVision

Discover the world of frantic zoatropes, curious workloads and rusting potties - not to mention live on video - a white knuckle ride into a dangerously enticing arcade of trapped souls and horrible horse rides.

Convict Blueface is repressed by a world of buzzers, seismic rumbles and unruly breakfast routines, his only comfort a camp bed, a welcoming teapot and a dream of an imminent journey on a giant Zeppelin. He prepares for the day that he will depart to a more peaceful place. Thwarted by piercing tannoy announcements that warn of flight delays, he tries to befriend Convict No. 649B3. Unfortunately this self obsessed neighbour prefers to dwell on his own past security - with a bundle of bones as a reminder of better times. An escape attempt has to be made. An escape fraught with an even greater danger. Freedom at last?.


First performed in Holland in 1998 under the title 'Coat On Duffle Off' Tunnelvision is still touring France throughout 2000. Faulty optic have developed ideas from their previous live video performance Bubbly Beds and incorporated a major live video sequence within the story of the 2 imprisoned characters. It provides a fantastic visual climax as the characters escape to this new and very alien world.

Devised, constructed and performed by Gavin Glover and Liz Walker

Music composed and recorded by Hugh Nankivell.

With Thanks to Yves Vasseur, Martin Smith, Mark Webber, Jim Bond, Natasha Watson, Liz Johnson, Steve Wright, Kate Thompson, The Arts Council of England and The British Council.

click here to see animated gif from the show 135k


What the Papers said about TunnelVision

The Guardian

Technical marvel worthy of the best (extract)


No less bleak is Tunnel Vision, at the ICA, a piece of intricate puppet theatre by the maverick British company Faulty Optic. This brilliantly eccentric and peculiarly British fable about fear of freedom proves the company is a Premier League player. The show is accessible to all ages but in no way simplistic. It is childlike but not childish.

The tale is about a convict puppet who attempts to escape from a hermit-like existence in a Wilton-carpeted cell but discovers dreams can be even more nightmarish. It's a technical marvel. Particularly in its finale, in which a tiny video camera invites the audience on a fairground ride to hell. But its greatest achievement is to create its own unique world, a front-room Colditz at which you have to laugh, otherwise you'd weep.

Both shows will send you out shivering at the desperation of the human condition but only Tunnel Vision makes you realise we should save all our pity for ourselves

Lyn Gardner

The Independent

There's more to puppets than Sooty and Sweep.

British Festival of Visual Theatre, BAC London. 28 October 1998

FaultyOptic is another group of puppeteers using the rigid expressions and controlled movements of their charges to explore unpredictable and even unpalatable aspects of human behaviour. Their extraordinary Tunnelvision also features bald, pinched-looking creatures, only on a much smaller and, ultimately, more disturbing scale. As with Slaphead, you initially marvel that such obviously constructed entities can be so lifelike, but disbelief is soon sufficiently suspended to reverse the insist: you start to recognise the inanimate and inhumane qualities in man.

Liz Walker and Gavin Glover, both hooded like members of a sinister cult, push and prod a small, beady-eyed figure in convict rags round a tiny platformed cell with jerky movements of infinite world-weariness. His barren daily routine, painstaking portrayed down to the last splash of urine in a tiny chamberpot - is punctuated by the demonic intrusions of a pig-faced infant on a space-hopper. The fantasy worlds into which both escape in their dreams are only slightly less nightmarish than this concentration-camp existence and eventually both landscapes merge as the edifice on which they perform shakes to war-like rumblings and the drone of a model zeppelin.

Come the end, we should be cooing over the finesse that allows us to follow a mini roller-coaster ride on a live video relay but, by then, we've glimpsed a microcosm that is, in its own little way, stomach churning.


Le Monde

Le Festival Exit de Créteil brasse sans complexe arts nobles et gestes de la rue. April 1999

LA SIXIÈME ÉDITION du Festival international Exit, qui s'est achevé dimanche 4 avril, a confirmé en un printemps de dix jours la place originale de Créteil dans un paysage festivalier parisien assoupi. Mais la principale réussite d'Exit 99 aura été celle des marionnettistes (pour adultes) britanniques de Faulty Optic. Avec Tunnelvision, Liz Walker et Gavin Glover projettent leur humanité de trois pouces dans l'existence des taupes. L'égoïsme, la bêtise, l'envie, la haine sont attisés par une solitude sans fond, qui renvoie chacun sur son île hostile. Leurs créatures guettent le train qui les sortirait du tunnel de la médiocrité, et ne s'arrêtera jamais pour eux. Leur œil, impitoyable, n'est rien â côté de leur nez, suractif, qui leur procure une animalité (une apparence de vie) débordante. Tunnelvision aborde au grand art par la rive du désespoir. Faulty Optic est à Châtillon jusqu'au 17 avril avec Snuffhouse Dusthouse, un de ses précédents spectacles. Il n'y a pas de bonne raison de le manquer.

Jean-Louis Perrier

Brief technical requirements: Minimum stage- 7mx6mx3.5m. End on, black box. Audience- 60-250.Adults and older children. Duration- 1hr10min. LX- 18-20 profiles, 20-24 circuits. SX- amp, speakers, minidisc player. No interval.