Faulty Optic, Soiled

Review in Issue 15-2 | Summer 2003

It was a delight to see Faulty Optic back at the Komedia with Soiled, a beautifully crafted piece incorporating puppetry, automata, pre-recorded film and live video – and an excellent composed soundscape. As with previous shows, this was a visually stunning, wordless dreamscape. It seemed to revolve around themes of escaping the boundaries of clay-footed, earth-bound existence, defying gravity and flying high – literally or metaphorically. The skilfully crafted and manipulated characters included the usual Faulty pairing of two ‘old codgers’ together with an on-screen Little Mermaid (escaped from her Copenhagen plinth), a couple of truly batty birds, and a strange xylophone-playing toy.

I noticed in the programme notes that the company have been inspired by Czech animator Jan Svankmejer. Although I had not previously made the connection, it now seems obvious – both are dark, surreal, funny, unsettling, yet somehow always life-enhancing with a carnivalesque pleasure in turning the world upside down and examining the real physical matter of existence.

It is the company’s use of ‘live feed’ video projection that is one of the most innovative aspects of their work. In Soiled this is used to superb effect to the side of the stage, a ship sounds its foghorn, lights flashing in the dark. Puppeteers manipulate a whole miniature world within the ship, cameras at the end of rods relaying the scene onto a screen on the other side of the stage. In this merging of live puppetry and film animation, Faulty have discovered a genre they have made their own: they are indeed masters of their universe.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 2003

This article in the magazine

Issue 15-2
p. 24