It would be simple to look at the revival of Sh akespeare’s first, and possibly least well known, play, as an experiment in the marketing skills of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Thankfully, this production of Venus and Adonis, brought to the Civic Theatre in Tallaght by that company, shakes off any ideas of this being a simple re-hashing of old ground. Written as a long-form poem, the tale is delivered in Bardic style, illustrated, to great effect, by the use of puppets. This is not Shakespeare as you saw it in school, and nor is this a puppet-show for your children. Like the origins of Punch & Judy, the puppeteering in Venus & Adonis is raunchy, sometimes violent, and definitely adult-orientated.
It is fair to say that the number of adult productions featuring marionettes is few. This is one of the most effective uses of the medium, skilfully delivered by a team of puppeteers. The mis-alignment, between the gravity of Shakespearean verse, and the comedy of puppetry, gives this production a particular charm and comedy that it might otherwise have lacked.
Overall, Venus & Adonis is the puppet show that every adult needs to experience
By Síofra Ní Shluaghadháin