Costume ensembles are just about the only thing that carries Dream of Marionettes as a show. Perhaps the idea of adding a burlesque spirit to a marionettes’ rebellion against an abusive puppeteer who exploited his dolls and threatened to throw them in the furnace seemed like a new twist on the old Pinocchio tale, but the script is simply too flat.
When the dolls get a hold of their Stromboli’s magic wand, they turn the old, bald and goateed owner into a marionette himself, force him to obey their orders and make fun of him in every way imaginable. Nothing wrong with some healthy femme fatale domination, especially when it comes to burlesque, but it’s just never gets funny. In fact, every joke is a cliché, every song sounds like something we’ve heard before and the story comes out lame. Even the promised burlesque part doesn’t seem to really “take” – barely anyone takes any clothes off during the show.
The Bottom Line? The Marionette’s cast, which actually does know how to sing and dance, and the truly great costume designer were the highlights of the show.
Dream of the Marionettes / Le Reve des Marionettes
Les Marionettes Productions
Written by Johanna Divine and Christy Leichty; Music by Johanna Divine and Daniel Coolik
Directed by Steven Cooper and Christy Leichty
Choreography by John Vincent
Final performance: Sunday, August 29th at 2:30pm
Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa (66 E 4th St)