Blind Summitâ€™s successful Edinburgh transfer, The Table, is a triptych of absurd, funny and technically accomplished pieces exploring the possibilities of puppetry and performance. The company have, in the past, collaborated with the ENO, ComplicitÃ© and other big names but here the puppet takes the foreground as both the subject and form of the groupâ€™s more intimate show.
The first episode sees a Japanese Bunraku puppet, operated by three people, explaining the basics of puppetry by illustrating hilariously what happens when the puppeteers go wrong. The puppet establishes a playful rapport with his audience before announcing he is to re-enact the final twelve hours of Mosesâ€™ life â€˜in real timeâ€™, entering into Beckett-style monologue. This is accompanied by excellently choreographed movement, puppetry reference, and the appearance of a silent woman.
Those who grow tired of a puppetâ€™s existential crisis (Krappâ€™s Last Table?) will enjoy the other two pieces more, which have no speech but seem less self-serious. These are a short interlude in which disembodied heads and hands move between empty frames creating interesting visual illusions, followed by the piÃ¨ce de rÃ©sistance, a crime thriller told across the table using only pieces of paper covered with text and images.
The table, incidentally, is of the white folding variety, in keeping with the showâ€™s minimalist, â€˜flat packâ€™ aesthetic; Moses has a cardboard head and cloth body, and the final piece is comprised of only one black suitcase and a veritable rainforest of A4 paper. This stripped-back feel would be bleak were it not for the warmth and wit of Blind Summit, who succeed in creating not just a â€˜serious puppet production on top of a tableâ€™ but a childlike experience for adults that combines images with movement and physical comedy with verbal nuance.