‘Or You Could Kiss Me’ sounds very good on paper; Handspring Puppet Company in collaboration with author Neil Bartlett in a unique story of a life-long South African couple’s journey to the end, told with puppets. Unfortunately, it only sounds good on paper and unlike some reviews I’m putting equal blame on Handspring and Neil Bartlett. In the programme Bartlett talks about the initial development, rather than a conventional script this was devised as a vehicle for the puppets – it’s a if someone said “we’ve got these puppets…” ,the National jumped at the chance and Neil Bartlett saw the opportunity to send an entire auditorium of people to sleep in his almost steam of conscious ‘play’ (unlike Beckett, Bartlett doesn’t have the talent to pull this off). Due to the scripts failings, it was hard to appreciate the puppets as there seemed no reason for them to be puppets, it made it difficult to find the emotional as there wasn’t anything to connect with and there were so many people involved in ‘intimate’ moments the intimacy was completely lost.
The play runs for 1hr40, without an interval (probably to stop people leaving at the halfway mark). A thoroughly disappointing production, made more so because it had so much promise.