Stuffed and Unstrung at the Irvine Barclay Theatre review

brian hens on blue photo by Carol Rosegg stuffed and unstrung

Around the Christmas week, I had a chance to check out Stuffed and Unstrung at the Irvine Barclay Theater in California. It’s a puppet show geared towards adults. The first thing that popped into my head is Avenue Q, another adult-oriented puppet show. Avenue Q is mainly a musical though, while Stuffed and Unstrung is an improv puppet show. Imagine Whose Line Is It Anyway? but with raunchy, dirty puppets. Definitely not for kids.

The venue of choice was the Irvine Barclay Theater, a venue inside University of California, Irvine. The special guest in attendance was Jamie Kennedy. Yes, he participated in an improv skit that felt very awkward to me, as I bet it did for other audience members too. At least it wasn’t as bad as Kennedy’s New Year’s Eve special. It consisted of puppets surrounding him and poking fun of him as he reenacts a scene from Scream.

The host for the night was Patrick Bristow. He definitely wasn’t afraid to let the crowd know that he’s gay, as we get to hear some gay comments here and there. He did a good job of pumping up the crowd and making sure that the audience members were kept entertained during breaks. Bristow introduced each cast member including Ted Michaels, Colleen Smith, Allan Trautman, and others.

The way the show works is that for each skit, the cast members would choose their puppets and act in front of the camera. The camera only captures the puppets, so if you’re watching the screens on the side, you’ll think it’s an actual puppet show. And since we’re watching it live, you can choose to look at just the screen to get immersed in the skit, or watch the screen and stage performance for the complete experience. It’s a very entertaining way to see live puppet performances.

My favorite skit from the show featured a couple being picked from the crowd to participate in a reenactment of the time the boyfriend was trying to get back together with his girlfriend. The puppets acted as the couple’s counterpart, and most of the time the puppets were pretty accurate. The boyfriend was made fun of for breaking up with his girlfriend and then trying to get back with her. Yep, the show definitely made fun of him for being a douche bag, and the crowd loved it.

Other improv skits include music parodies like James Bond, scenes of a family of hot dogs comforting their dying hot dog relative, and more.

If you’re down for an improv comedy show involving puppets with adult humor, then check out Stuffed and Unstrung. Currently there are no upcoming shows, but check out the Stuffed and Unstrung site periodically for updates.

Facebook Comments