Try Not to Let Ronnie Burkett Play You Like a Puppet

For the record, I do not like puppet shows – not even when I was a kid – but Ronnie Burkett gets me every time! Last Friday’s show, Little Willy, was another masterpiece. I had my doubts for the first 30 min, but the performance just got better and better and funnier and funnier until the audience had to laugh out loud, engage and even take off their shirts!! Yes, Mr. Burkett’s good sense of humour and repetitiveness are so convincing that it gets people to undress, be touched, and serve as guinea pigs to spark his show. It’s all in goodwill and for fun, and truly adds a layer of ‘intimacy’ 😉

Ronnie Burkett, a Toronto-based puppet master of my mum’s age has been coming to Vancouver to perform with marionettes for years. I first saw Ronnie at the beginning of 2020, just before the pandemic hit, with his show called ‘Forget Me Not’. I must have known that the world would be going into a ‘lockdown’ as there is no other feasible explanation as to why I would have gone to see a puppet show. I was amazed by the originality of his play and the way he manipulated his dolls – I had never seen puppetry this way before.…it was truly beautiful and captivating.

So when I heard that he was back, I had to confirm that my ‘enjoyment of puppet shows’ was not a one-off and therefore went to Little Willy play.  Bravo Mr. Burket! Friday night confirmed so many facts:

  • I (still) don’t like puppets – but seem to be able to appreciate those disturbing-looking objects when the show is well written, funny (but not silly), and with a strong presence of the manipulator 

  • I have a new admiration for puppet’s artistry

  • I am a fan of Ronnie Burkett who not only maneuvers his puppets in the most amazing way, but also makes them, writes his scripts, and is very generous with his time