Pie | VitalstatistixPhoto – Heath Britton

is a far cry from mainstream theatrical fare. This intriguingly named one-woman puppet show is as obscure as its title and hauntingly beautiful.

Puppeteer Gabrielle Griffin creates an enigmatic and intimate one-hour show in the cavernous Waterside Workers Hall at the Port side of Adelaide.

She teams with Wendy Todd to design a set within a large tent in the middle of the hall. The effect is luminous and oddly intimate. Griffin uses the centre of the tent and its gauzy walls to create an atmosphere of mystery and intrigue. An extraordinary cupboard, a pile of sawdust and a womblike table also add to the curious nature of this performance.

Superb lighting, by Mark Pennington, and evocative music and sound are an integral part of creating a memorable effect for this puppetry in motion.

Nevertheless it is Griffin with her immense skills as a puppeteer who takes her faceless puppet and imbues her with a kaleidoscope of emotions, experiences and challenges.

Griffin invites the audience to enter a very private world and empathise, not sympathise. This is a very feminine world, in the true sense of the word feminine. In ancient times women entered the “red tent”. In this greyish-hued tent a small wooden puppet is facing very modern dilemma and yet the message is similar.

This is the amazing journey of a woman and her relationship to her body. It is a powerful and poetic homage. Details and story-lines may be obscure but the message is clear – a woman’s body and her cycles are to be acknowledged, revered and accepted. The fact that a diminutive wooden puppet conveys all of this is a testament to the compelling ingenuity of Griffin and her team.

Vitalstatistix present
by Gabrielle Griffin

Venue: Waterside, 11 Nile St, Port Adelaide
Dates: July 27 – Aug 6, 2011
Tickets: $26 – $22
Bookings: BASS www.bass.net.au | 131 246

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This is a production of which any director, cast and theatre company should be proud.