Creative play’s charm

Argus (Queensland Theatre Company and Dead Puppet Society)

The Greenhouse, Bille Brown Studio

May 5 – 17

When Queensland Theatre Company announced “Argus” as part of its 2015 program, they had me at Topology. I’ve loved everything that this acclaimed group has done and their presence as provider of the live music soundtrack (John Babbage’s score) to the show was reaffirmation of why the music ensemble is so acclaimed on the Brisbane Theatre scene, adding as it does to the innocence and beauty of an already sweet story.

“Argus” is a whimsical whip of a show from Queensland’s own Dead Puppet Society, running at an economical but entirely engaging 45 minutes. The charming children’s work tells the adventure story of a little creature’s fragile attempts to find home in a world in which he does not fit. From birds to bugs, all sorts of characters emerge from all types of terrain, from under the sea to outer space, making use of nothing but household objects, the performers’ hands and a revolving wheel of mini-sets to take audiences through each chapter of Argus’s journey to try and find place in the human world.


The characters are made entirely endearing through the collective efforts of their four puppeteers, intertwined as they so often are to produce unbelievably believable creatures of all animal types. Although there are frequent sounds to emphasise emotion and engage the audience into audible ‘awws’, the show is sans any dialogue and does not suffer from its absence. It does not detract from the narrative at all, but, rather, reinforces the poetic magic of the experience.

“Argus” is a show that needs to be seen, not necessarily to be believed, but because it is so difficult to describe the immersive world created by its puppet-based visual theatre. Dead Puppet Society is renowned and celebrated for its unique way of looking at the world through imagination at creative play and “Argus” is a stunning example of this. The heart-warming show bubbles with joy (literally) and is sure to be a hit amongst the youngest of audience members. Even those (like me) who are not traditional puppet fans wills surely be entertained by its whimsicality, impressed by its performer’s technical skills and comforted by is essential message regarding the worth of paying attention to the little things in our big world. As Dead Puppets Society embark on their post-Brisbane-season national tour, the joy is that they get to share this quietly touching piece and expand the imaginations of so many theatregoers, whether they be young or young at heart.

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