Last week I saw Hard Rubbish at The Malthouse with one of my girlfriends. The show is puppetry, but it’s not the old-school Pinocchio on strings type of puppetry, not even close. Hard Rubbish left on the curb – from a goofy washing machine to loved-up couch cushions – comes to life. Each piece has its own little cameo as they emerge from the pile, explore their surrounds, interact with each other and, sometimes, with the audience.
The hero of the show is a pink rocking horse, a cute little fella who falls in love with a tiny chest of drawers. He gallops around the stage, puppeteer pressing his ear to elicit a comical pre-recorded neighing sound. Things start to get a little serious, however, when a glowing white chest of drawers arrives on stage. This ominous creature just seems out of place at first, but it soon emerges that the drawers are a vicious psycho bent on destroying the moulding, olding odd-ball hard rubbish.
Mr pink pony gets rather upset when the shiny new drawers take his beloved baby chest of drawers hostage and turn them into a shiny white mini-clone. The hard rubbish all team up to try to take down the evil Ikea drawers, Mr pink pony leading the charge. The show culminates in an amazing all out war between the new and the old furniture, with everything from plastic spoons, bowling balls and fake poo being flung around the stage.
It’s a dirty, messy and very funny show. I had a pillow thrown at me. I cheered on toilet bowls racing each other and I watched, terrified, as Mr pink pony got vacuum sealed into a plastic bag (don’t worry, he was ok in the end and no animals were harmed in the making of…).
I laughed so much. It was a Tuesday night, an early 6:30pm show and during the school holidays, so the audience was packed out with kids. I felt like one of them, in a good way. At first I was worried, thinking I’d sat down for an hour of cutesy (or worse, moralistic) puppetry for children. But within ten minutes, I was so into it! And I think I developed a crush on the hero, Mr pink pony puppet…
This show has a nice message about recycling and our throw-away culture, but it’s not really going to make you think deeply. It’s creative and entertaining and involves treasure-hunting toilet brushes. It’s just plain fun and it reminded me how good it can be to just go to a show that makes you smile for an hour and a half. On until 6 October, go see it for a giggle with a girlfriend and a guilt-free dose of theatre.