DISCLAIMER: Let’s just get this out of the way. I love Bread & Puppet Theater. I’ve seen them perform dozens of times, and I’ve performed with them on several occasions.
And yet, every time that I see them, I am amazed and thrilled all over again.
This weekend, the five-person ensemble is performing “The Dirt Cheap Money Cabaret” at Time & Space Ltd. in Hudson, where the troupe has been making an annual spring tour-stop for the past dozen years.
Bread & Puppet and Time & Space is a perfect match. Both are funky, not fancy. Both are staunchly independent political thinking organizations. And both are thoroughly committed to the betterment of the world.
“The Dirt Cheap Money Cabaret” examines the current economic tailspin that we find ourselves in, as well as a variety of other issues, such as mountaintop removal mining. And yet, B&P provides plenty of laughs along the way. The evening is also as poignant as it is pointed.
Karl Marx – portrayed by several different actors and puppets – acts as a kind of narrator for the revue, and who knew he could be so funny?
Short plays, solo clown routines and a variety of songs – from jazz to classical, from Broadway to Celtic – are hand-stitched together to form a thoroughly engaging, yet thought-provoking variety show.
Bread & Puppet isn’t really a puppet theater in the traditional sense, although the puppets – ranging in size from six inches to more than a dozen feet tall – are beautiful in a raw, art brut fashion. Rather, Bread & Puppet is part Commedia dell’arte. It’s part vaudeville. Part Bertolt Brecht. Part circus. Part Weimar cabaret. And absolutely wonderful.
And to top it all off, yes, they do indeed serve bread after every performance. It’s theater of substance and sustenance.
The Bread & Puppet Theater performs “The Dirt Cheap Money Cabaret” at Time & Space Ltd. in Hudson at 8pm tonight (Friday) and Saturday, as well as at 2pm Saturday and Sunday. Tix are $10; children under 13 $5.