Going to a show is kind of like being a puppet. You are relinquishing control of your evening to entertainers that think they know how to give you a better time than you could provide for yourself.
But you will be happy you allowed Puppet Uprising to hold your strings this weekend as the Ninth Annual Year-End Cabaret takes over the Rotunda at Penn. With nimble wrists from all over the U.S. performing, the folks at Philly's premier puppet collective swear their noses will not grow when they tell you this is something you don’t want to miss.
Philly's favorite puppeteer, Beth Nixon, hosts and gives a gaze into the future with her new piece "Disaster Banana." Local hero Michelle Posadas teams up with musical prodigy Jailbird Thunderheart to debut their newest bi-coastal projector-puppet collaboration. Little Ditty Productions (Angic, Kathryn and Naomi from Spiral Q Puppet Theater) dreams up an eye-popping mystery, and a series of space-age skits by The Great Quentini brings Philly's puppet year to a satisfying close.
But this is no backyard barbecue. Among the acts from other cities coming to be a part of the cabaret are Baltimore's Robot Neutron, which combines hand puppets, shadows, a noise soundtrack and live narration in "Interference," the story of a stranger from the mountains caught between an unfamiliar city and transmissions from another world. Boston's one-woman band Puppelele plays a triad of short sea shanties on her uke while manipulating marionettes with her feet and knees.
Oh and one more thing. Free admission. That ought to ease the strained purse strings the holidays can bring.
But if you just can't bear to part from the shopping buzz this time of year, The Cabaret also features the Great Big Cheap Art Bazaar. Buy some affordable creations for that eccentric person on your list.
The most famous puppet of all time desperately wanted to be a real boy. But this is post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas Philadelphia. With all the food still digesting and the time and money necessary to prepare for the holidays, you could use a guiding hand from above. So put your night in the able hands of the Puppet Uprising this weekend.
They won't let you down.
December 5 and 6, 8 p.m. at the Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St. All ages, free admission, donations accepted.