Who knew that 17th century puppetry could still be relevant today! VStar Entertainment Group and Nickelodeon have brought children’s production, PAW Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue, to life with the use of Bunraku.
It’s an ancient Japanese form of puppetry founded in Osaka. Traditionally it requires 3 puppeteers: the omo-zukai, or head puppeteer, the hidari-zukai, or left-hand puppeteer; and the ashi-zukai, or foot puppeteer. For the puppets to move smoothly, the puppeteers need to work together.
In the PAW Patrol Live! musical production, Bunraku is used in a modern way to create life-sized pups that wag their tails, blink their eyes, move their mouths and interact with the audience.
Puppetry elements are built into the costumes, which are worn by the performers. Each of the pups has a Pup Pack and vehicle, which also will be seen during the show.
Performer Olivia Washington, who plays Mayor Goodway in the American tour thinks so too.
“The pup costumes have four legs versus the usual two-legged walk-around costume characters,” Washington says. “It truly is incredible and breathtaking.
The storyline features up-tempo music in two acts with an intermission. The production offers lessons of citizenship, social skills and problem-solving, showing that “no job is too big, no pup is too small.”