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A Fun Production of Puppet Up! - Uncensored
Marine Memorial Theatre

Also see Richard's reviews of Shakespeare's R & J, Breakfast with Mugabe and I Love Lucy Live on Stage

Henson Alternative has returned to San Francisco with a new adult puppet show running through November 23 at the Marine Memorial Theatre in San Francisco. These brilliant puppeteers and their wonderful puppets were here in 2011 under the title Stuffed and Unstrung. Puppet Up! - Uncensored is a cross between Avenue Q and "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" These puppets cover adult theme subjects, so, as the ad states, it is recommended for ages over 16 due to the mature content and adult humor.

Puppet Up! is 90 minutes of improvised puppet sketches with the themes suggested by the audience, usually yelling its head off. The Emcee tells the audience at the beginning to yell out "Puppet-Up!" before every provision and they certainly do. There are a mishmash of puppets ranging from a big bear to a fish to aliens to crafty weasels and even some very thin, what look like pencils that are used in several sketches.

The puppeteers work very hard center stage. A video camera is positioned just above their heads and these images are projected on two large screens on either side of the stage. So you can watch the puppeteers improvising or watch the group performing intricate movements with the puppets on the two screens.

Some of the sketches at the performance I attended were wonderful, such as a puppet talking about gluten-free foods backed by some weird and funny puppets, and something called "Dirty Fingers" (don't ask about that one). There were two classic set pieces to honor Jim Henson. The puppets vamped on "I've Grown Accustomed to Your Face" and "Java" and were side splitting.

Puppet Up! - Uncensored runs through November 23, 2014, at the Marine Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter Street, Second Floor, San Francisco. For tickets please call 888-746-1799 or visit for more information. Currently playing is I Love Lucy Live on Stage at the Curran through November 23 and up next at the Orpheum Theatre is Kinky Boots opening on December 2nd and running through December 28th.

Photo: Carol Rosegg

Cheers - and be sure to Check the lineup of great shows this season in the San Francisco area

- Richard Connema

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