Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco

Lunatique Fantastique's The Construction Cabaret is a Lightweight Fun Show

Also see Richard's review of Continental Divide

The New Conservatory Theatre Center and Lunatique Fantastique are currently presenting The Construction Cabaret in the small band box theater at the NCTC. Liebe Wetzel and her ensemble, known for puppetry for adults, are presenting this 65 minute show through January 3. This is a lightweight, fun evening with the stars being a wonderful reconstructed construction worker and some fantastic one foot long yellow foam rubber sponges made into a animated objects.

The Construction Cabaret features twenty quick scenes with five persons completely dressed in black, like Japanese bunraku players, waving objects around as children would play with dolls or toy airplanes. The LunFan players present riveting and wrenching tales from objects found in toolboxes. Some of the scenes are not suitable for children.

Lunatique Fantastique has been around for several years and has played in various cities in this country, including New York. The group has become a great favorite of San Francisco audiences and they present several different productions every year to the great enjoyment of puppet fans. With just a little rearranging and a few simple gestures, the LunFan group gives these items a great range of nuance and emotion. No real dialogue is spoken, with the exception of some wonderful sound effects.

The Construction Cabaret features practically everything you would see in a construction worker's toolbox. Screws get loose and nails get hammered down during the presentation. Tools become a deer and an antelope chased by a hunter. There are two paper boxes turned into dogs, several tools are made into a stripper and a large aluminum collapsible tube becomes a caterpillar. Separate tools put together become floating fish.

Moppy is the star of the show. He is a constructed two foot tall person wearing a hat, a gray piece of cloth representing a body and shoes to fit the occasion. He attempts painting a picture and works with little red street cones that repeatedly disappear and a mop head. Moppy also becomes a construction worker wearing a hardhat and big work shoes in several scenes. Also starring in this show are yellow foam rubber sponges which are turned into walking objects. They jump, play acrobatics with each other, have sex and fight. The troupe also does a wonderful little scene with rubber bands that become a house with smoke coming from the chimney.

The Construction Cabaret continues thru January 3rd in the small band box theatre of the NCTC, 25 Van Ness Ave near Market Street, San Francisco. For tickets call the NCTC box office at 415-861-8972 or visit The NCTC are also presenting Charles Busch's You Should Be So Lucky and Kinsey Sicks: Oy Vey in a Manger.

Photo: Bill Faulkner

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

- Richard Connema

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