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BWW Review: THE DAISY THEATRE at Centaur Theatre Company

BWW Review: THE DAISY THEATRE at Centaur Theatre CompanyThe Quebec premiere of Ronnie Burkett's The Daisy Theatre has been gaining critical acclaim since its opening show on February 22nd at Montreal's Centaur Theatre Company. This is Burkett's 13th production with his company titled: The Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes. Burkett performed his previous production, Tinka's New Dress, at the Festival du Théâtre des Amériques and continued to sell out his three follow-up productions here in Montreal.

Burkett has been a legend in the marionette world and continues to push the envelope with his topical shows. He is a craftsman, writer, puppet master, performer, vocal artist and provocateur extraordinaire. He has been creating his own marionettes for decades and is the sole-performer, other than his cheeky and charming characters for which Burkett provides all voices, in all of his shows. In The Daisy Theatre, Burkett has partnered with Composer, Lyricist & Sound Designer John Alcorn for the numerous songs performed throughout the show. The production follows a Vaudeville format with musical numbers, comedy skits, and monologues, all performed by 40-something marionettes ranging from 16 to 30 inches tall. The script is heavily improvised, leaving Burkett free to tailor the show to specific audiences, current events, and his here-and-now inspirations.

The Daisy Theatre stage is small, elevated and located in the center of the Centaur performing space. There is a beautiful, brightly colored curtain, depicting some of The Daisy Theatre characters. Numerous puppets can be seen hanging on the sides and backstage, waiting to be selected. Burkett opens the show by directly addressing the audience, admitting that he's "basically going to make sh*t up", a statement that is hard to believe once the entire show has been witnessed. He then proceeds to his elevated position, above the stage, within arms reach of his marionettes and begins the show.

BWW Review: THE DAISY THEATRE at Centaur Theatre CompanyIn usual vaudevillian fashion, the opening act commences with a hilarious and technically mind-boggling burlesque number. A blonde, wholesome, doe-eyed, Dolly Wiggler appears in a glamorous, yellow, southern-style gown. She manages to remove four layers of clothing with her marionette hands while singing about "just being another hoe on the farm". She finishes her titillating performance by taking off her gingham undergarments to reveal her bright daisy pasties. That was just the opening act.

BWW Review: THE DAISY THEATRE at Centaur Theatre CompanyBurkett pulls out all the stops, even calling two audience members to join in. Aging lounge singer Rosemary Focaccia trains a timid young audience member into screaming obscenities while giving him advice on life. Miss Lillian Lunkhead, "Canada's oldest and worst actress" managed to grope and stroke another audience member, while reenacting Romeo & Juliet's crypt scene...several times. The audience erupted in laughter on numerous occasions and cheered for the daring volunteer who held up his fictional dagger, in this case, a plastic fork, so Miss Lunkhead, in this case, Juliet, could hurl herself against it to join her long-lost Romeo.

A standout of the show was the farm widow Edna Rural from Turnip Corners, Alberta. BWW Review: THE DAISY THEATRE at Centaur Theatre CompanyBurkett's roots show in this act as he gives Edna a stream-of-consciousness style monologue with a flawless Albertan accent. She reminisces about her dead husband, makes the occasional racist comment, releases gas while struggling to get out of her chair and raves about her famous pie dough with dill, or "dill-dough".

Finally, there is the adorable Schnitzel. Schnitzel is a childlike fairy desperate for wings. He demonstrates a keen awareness of his marionette self and provides the overall message of the show in his final monologue. Schnitzel enchants the audience with his daring action to step into an area he is not supposed to go and his charming and sweet message to "be brave".

Burkett provides an evening full of entertainment, laughter and thought-provoking skits. He is not shy to insult, mock and play with sensitive material and beliefs. His honesty and authenticity are refreshing and his characters absolutely memorable. It is not surprising that the Centaur Theatre has announced an extension of this show until March 25th, adding three additional performances to the run.

The Daisy Theatre can be seen at the Centaur Theatre until March 25th. The show is for mature audiences only (16 +). Tickets can be purchased at or by calling the Box-Office: 514-288-3161.

Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes


Created & Performed by Ronnie Burkett

February 20 to March 25, 2018, at the Centaure Theatre in Montreal, QC

NOTE: For Adults ONLY, 16 years and over

Marionette, Costume & Set Designer: Ronnie Burkett

Composer, Lyricist & Sound Designer: John Alcorn

Production Manager & Artistic Associate: Terri Gillis

Associate Producer: John Lambert

Stage Manager: Crystal Salverda

Production Photos: Alejandro Santiago

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From This Author Maggie Owen