To get in to this particular Assembly venue, you go down a gorgeous avenue of red drapes that lead you into the black magic box where the Macaroni Puppet Show takes place.
This Turin based company has created a piece of children’s theatre in five acts involving the beloved Italian ingredient – pasta. The acts are explained in the programme and they go from “The Mystery of Life” where “ ...pasta creatures move...in a primordial world”; “Pre-historical pasta stories: mozzarella cow breeding, tomato adoration, tribal conflicts”; “Pennoni attack Cannelloni...with a garlic bomb...to conquer the desired Big Tomato”; “Circus pasta with fireworks show!” The programme also indicates the philosophy behind the show, explaining how all things have a soul, how human beings strive “...to give sense to heir existence...” and that the pasta is a “...mirror of humanity in all his fragility.”
Perhaps in Italy where food holds a place in people’s hearts in a way it does not over here, such philosophy is understandable. I confess that the depth of the intention of the show was only clear when reading the programme, but when watching the show, the deeper message was lost. What I did see was a pasta box with mind of its own, dancing pasta, raining cous cous and comic scenes with a giant tomato, an equally giant ball of mozzarella and a barrage of garlic; a bird with big lasagne wings and flocks of fluttering pasta on wires operated by the two near- invisible puppeteers with their faces covered like beekeepers. All very good, but too much pasta, no matter how delicious can be boring.
There was a fantastic firework scene (made of pasta, of course) that would have made an exciting ending, and a thoroughly elegant and beautiful wooden spoon and spaghetti dance. The cleverness of the puppeteers’ invisibility was pretty amazing but more human interaction was needed to fully engage the young audience in this esoteric piece.
Show times and ticket prices
August 7-8, 13-15, 20-21
August 9-12, 16-19