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Stuffed and Unstrung, Gut-Busting, Puppet Fun Off-Broadway

Brian Henson in Stuffed and Unstrung

Brian Henson in Stuffed and Unstrung

Stuffed and Unstrung is a laugh-out-loud, poke fun at everything and anything show. Through the use of improvisation, audience involvement, music and the most colorful cast of actors and puppets on stage it  delivers unending laughter and giddy pleasure.

Now playing at Union Square Theatre, Stuffed is  unique in that it challenges its audiences not to return for second and third helpings.

It’s difficult to pinpoint the most impressive aspect of this clever, silly experience. A comedic variety show, Stuffed and Unstrung features puppeteers who improvise songs and sketches based on suggestions from the audience.

Ever wonder what it would be like if a bunch of Italian hot dogs wandered into the Vatican?

What if a cast of crazy animals decided to ruminate on Scientology and its connections to Sarah Palin?

How about a flamboyant alien directing a team of wacky, constipated actors in a Western film?

Nothing is too insane for this dynamic group of artists. They bring Jim Henson Company’s puppets uncannily to life, in addition to having the incredible imaginations to make every performance an instant hit.

Stuffed and Unstrung's cast swing band.

Stuffed and Unstrung's cast swing band.

This production is actually two shows in one; the puppet action is projected on large screens adjoining the stage, while the puppeteers display their skillful abilities below, all in full view of the audience.

Director and host Patrick Bristow is in on the fun as well, sarcastic and funny at all the right moments.

He truly shines when jibing with his largely liberal audiences (it is New York, after all) and their penchant for shouting out suggestions that lean precariously to the right.

Executive producer Brian Henson (whose directing credits include The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island) also performs with his critters and players, and deftly reminds his audience how they fell in love with puppets in the first place.

Through a select few recreations of his father Jim Henson’s cutesy-dopey sketches, it’s a treat to see how Henson and Bristow have contributed to the evolution of puppets and comedy- even if it is in a twisted, “adults only” sort of way.

Because this show is so unstrung, it is difficult, at first, to grasp that the show is unscripted; every skit is impeccably hysterical and made up on the spot.

The audience becomes a part of the show, even joining the cast on stage for a few bits. Truly an inviting, exuberant piece of theater, people will be Stuffed after one show, but will be anxious for multiple helpings of this Off-Broadway hit.

Stay tuned for TheImproper’s interview with Brian Henson.

Stuffed and Unstrung
The Union Square Theatre
100 East 17th St., NY, NY.
Times: Wed-Fri at 9:00 PM,
Saturday at 8:00 PM & 11:00 PM.
Tickets: Ticketmaster
Or Call: 212-307-4100.
For more information, check out StuffedandUnstrung on the Web.

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