When I first heard of Conrad Koch I feared he may be an imperfect rip off of the internationally-known Jeff Dunham. I was pleasantly surprised at how wrong I was.
Koch teams up with award-winning director, Heinrich Reisenhofer to bring us a truly clever, outrageously funny and unforgettable show with his new comedy act, Puppet Asylum. It’s a simple enough story following Koch’s attempt to prove to the world that he can keep his puppets under control and be let out of the ‘cuckoo’s nest’.
The Baxter’s Golden Arrow Studio is the perfect intimate location for such an interactive performance. Upon entering, we noticed many high-profile audience members, famous TV personalities, comedians, theatre producers and many eager viewers, filling every seat. The set design was a clever adaptation of the classic white-padded room in a mental institution and the random choice of music (gangster rap to rock n roll) worked well to set the tone for the absurd journey on which we were about to embark.
The show is wonderfully put together and littered with enough pop-cultural references to keep most entertained, along with memorable pokes at all things South African. Koch and his puppets, the LNN-famous (and Koch’s BEE partner) Chester Missing, Hilary the has-been showgirl ostrich and Ronnie, the young but certainly not innocent green monster deliver a warm and laugh-out-loud performance that will leave footprints in your hearts and wrinkles across your face.
Faheem abz Abrahams
Conrad Koch’s Puppet Asylum runs at the Baxter’s Golden Arrow Studio 10 – 28 January 2012.