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The Shop Of Little Horrors at the Tobacco Factory Theatre

The Shop Of Little Horrors at the Tobacco Factory Theatre

© Pickled Image
© Pickled Image


The Shop of Little Horrors (not be confused with Little Shop of Horrors) is a new play by Bristol based Pickled Image. Pickled Image specialise in puppetry for live performance and theatre, and this is a darkly humorous performance that came with a feel of unease.

Now I don’t care who you are or how tough you consider yourself to be, ventriloquist dummies are creepy and their eyes can make anyone feel unsettled – this play had a group of them, each with their own individual character. Set in Grimlake’s Emporium of Novelties, a shop that no one but the owner Albert Grimlake has set foot in for years, the set is small but wonderfully detailed, with each nook and cranny packed with different objects that catch your eye.

Happy enough just having his puppets to talk to, Grimlock realises he’s getting older and needs to find someone to carry on his legacy. Enter Eric, he’s a Muppet obsessed puppet enthusiast that has found Grimlake’s advert for an apprentice at the local post office. He’s keen and even brings along his own puppet creation to show the veteran. We meet Grimlake’s mother, in puppet form of course and she’s one big battleaxe, with her scrunched up face and wild white hair she’s a puppet to be reckoned with.

In addition to the puppets are some amazing prosthetic masks that give the actors puppet features, along with the way they move and the characteristics of their voices which make them fit right in with the family of puppets. The only person onstage that’s yet to be puppetfied is Eric. I don’t want to give away any more of the plot as it’ll spoil the enjoyment of this twisted tale, but it’s safe to say that this is not the happy clappy job Eric anticipated.

This is a laugh out loud dark comedy that reveals Pickled Image as being not only great puppeteers but creative and innovative performers too. If you get a chance to see The Shop of Little Horrors, do it. It’ll be a memorable night into the dark recesses of your mind.

The Shop of Little Horrors is on at the Tobacco Factory until 9th November. Find out more about Pickled Image here.


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