Words by Samaya Borom

Playing at the Princess Theatre as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Brian Henson’s Alternative Puppet Up! Uncensored is unlike any live puppet show you’re ever likely to go and see.

Featuring an assorted cast of puppets, it’s an entirely improvised performance that takes its cues from audience participation – no matter how lewd or controversial that may be. The audience is prompted by an equally entertaining compere who picks out the best (or worst) suggestions for the puppet troupe to act out. A language warning is definitely necessary, which is why the show is marketed at the 18-plus market, though all audience members I could see where laughing uproariously.

Saturday night’s performance featured a re-creation of a first date at Young and Jacksons (30 years ago), a community announcement of the problems that are associated with masturbating other people, and an imagined episode of ‘Toorak Wankers” featuring a spa bath and a child with Tourette Syndrome. Because the act is improvised no two shows are the same, which makes for a great excuse to go more than once.

Brian Henson’s Alternative Puppet Up! Uncensored certainly lives up to its name and that’s what makes it stand out from the crowd. The fact it is driven from audience participation makes it a great night out and one that’s sure to be memorable (if not controversial!).

Brian Henson’s Alternative Puppet Up! Uncensored is on at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival at Princess Theatre from 27 March to 20 April.