Theater Review: 'Boliloc'

'Boliloc' deals with the inner life of the puppeteer.

Boliloc 88 248 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Boliloc 88 248
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Philippe Genty Company Boliloc Herzliya March 1 There once was a wizard puppeteer called Philip Genty who danced with his string puppets like no one before him. His unique magical touch was composed of traditional puppetry, keen, clever vision and a bucketful of charisma oozing human compassion. That was almost three decades ago. Then he moved forward to grander, more technically sophisticated shows, more alluring techniques of stage tricks and illusions, lots of props and other enhanced visual effects that catered to audiences looking for easy-to-swallow entertainment. Now, all his shows have a varying measure of WOW effect, but none are as moving or touch inner cords as his earlier one-man show. Boliloc is Genty's latest production, directed by him and his partner Mary Underwood. It returns, in a way, to deal with the inner life of the puppeteer, particularly the ventriloquist and the symbiosis between the man as the manipulator and the man being run by puppets with a will of their own. The first and purest scene introduces Alice, haunted by some puppets she can't control. This nightmarish situation is a lesson in perfect execution, where you can't always tell the actor from the objects, and the striking way in which they become one entity. The two male actors are incredible, particularly Christian Hecq, a member of the most respected theater Comedie Francaise, with his expressive face and overpowering personality. The show works - all of Genty's shows do. Although different in details, there is too often a feeling of déjà vu. Funny scenes last longer than the smiles they raise. Innovative effects such as floating in the air don't go anywhere. Regardless of Freudian theories that navigate the inner narrative, the show enjoys excellent craftsmanship on a production level that never fails to impress. Boliloc plays in Haifa from March 10 to 14, in Jerusalem from March 17 to 18 and in Tel Aviv from March 20 to 22.