At the beginning of Kid Koala’s live show “Nufonia Must Fall,” the globe-trotting scratch DJ informs the audience that they’ll witness the live filming of a full-length motion picture – all in one take. Then Koala, the Afiara Quartet and a talented team of puppeteers and filmmakers do just that.
If the audience’s gaze was limited to just the projection screen above the stage, the show would still be enthralling: a sweet, quirky musical about a robot who falls in love with his inventor. But expanding on the experience, you can gaze down and SEE Kid Koala working the turntable or the puppeteers manipulating the multiple sets required to bring the story to life.
It’s quite a different theater experience than most of the puppet shows I’ve witnessed. The best comparison I can think of are Joel Hodgson’s 1995 pilot “TV Wheel,” or perhaps the simple art of overt puppetry, in which the puppeteer works in plain view of the audience. One is able to focus on the manipulated puppeteer, but seeing the work of the puppeteer adds another layer of intrigue. It can be like watching two performances at once, one layered over the other.
It’s a similar joy to lose oneself in “Nufonia Must Fall.” There’s a joy to seeing the many, many strings that bring the production alive on stage – an intimacy driven home by the localization of various details in the show. For instance, the Atlanta show featured such familiar names as MARTA and Adult Swim in the futuristic city’s skyline.
Directed by K.K. Barrett, production designer for such films as “Her” and “Where the Wild Things Are,” Kid Koala’s “Nufonia Must Fall” is currently touring the US and Canada, with one stop in Taiwan. Go see it with someone you love. I did. 😊
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Space Music is a continuous exploration of our expanding cosmos of sound, with an emphasis on electronic music. Sample a little of everything from past posts at the Space Music Sampler playlist on Spotify.