New York-based puppeteers Andy Manjuck and Dorothy James bring their wordless tragicomedy Bill’s 44th to the Edinburgh Fringe, in association with Underbelly. This introspective puppet show explores physical and emotional seclusion, a concept that carries added weight following the pandemic, in a tender and hilarious party that has been selected as a NYTimes Critic’s Pick and received two OFFIE nominations.
The streamers are hung, the punch has been spiked and the cake is just begging to be eaten. The anxious host, Bill, has planned his party to the last detail and now, all that remains is for his guests to arrive. Desperate to fill his apartment with camaraderie and celebration, his imagination runs wild. Bill’s 44th explores loneliness and self-acceptance through different styles of puppetry, raucous balloons and a cheeky piece of crudité.
Co-creators and puppeteers Andy Manjuck and Dorothy James comment, Puppetry lets us play with scale, with surrealism, and allows us to connect to an audience on a deep level. This is a comedy that is sometimes terribly unfunny and a constant tragedy that is often hilarious. It is a puppet show for adults about time, loneliness, and self-acceptance.
After their sold-out run at London International Mime Festival 2023 and being awarded a “Citation of Excellence” by UNIMA-USA , the three puppeteers (Manjuck and James, along with Jon Riddleberger) perform this playful and poignant devised piece, to highlight the pitfalls of impatience, the wonder of loneliness and the universal passage of time.