Review: Chuck Wood Tour

Chuck Wood Tour
By Pádraig Collins The Irish Times

Chuck Wood is angrier than the average teenager. He's a leering, foul-mouthed sociopath who spits, swears and projectile-vomits over people without warning. Every now and then he is possessed; his eyes go red and he shouts, "I had that dream again last night. The killing dream. You were in it." But his main point of demarcation from other teenagers is that Chuck is a dummy.

Voiced by manic American David Strassman, Chuck is the main, and by far most evil, character in the nine-puppet, two hour halo of hilarity that is Dummy.

At no point in the proceedings are you in doubt that you are watching a ventriloquy show - Ted E Bare, the cutest puppet, says at one point 'notice how we don't talk when he laughs' - but yet your neck cranes to the puppets whenever a character's voice is heard. his reviewer even found himself wondering where Chuck's radio microphone was when noticing that Strassman was wearing one.

The puppets are so angst-ridden as to appear hyper-real. Chuck wants to be 'a real boy.' Ted E Bare - who bares (groan - ed) a remarkable resemblance to Judge from Wanderly Wagon - is having a 'bad fur day' and worries that he is fat. Sid Arthur, a beaver, wants to make it in show-business and so has to audition to replace Chuck who is dropped for being evil.

Strassman has managed to do what, on the face of it, would have seemed near-impossible, he has made ventriloquy hip and cool. Dummy is a rollercoaster ride of fun and you'd be a fool to yourself and a burden on others if you missed it (well, either that or you have no sense of adventure and humour).

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