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We had the chance to check out “Stuffed and Unstrung“, a live improv meets puppetry performance produced by Henson Alternative, the Jim Henson Company brand for content created for adult audiences. The show features Brian Henson and a half dozen other puppeteers, mixed with a collection of Henson puppets in a series of improvised scenes based on audience word/theme suggestions. Think Avenue Q meets Upright Citizen’s Brigade. The puppeteers are in plain view, but through a video setup, you can also watch a screen where you only see the puppets. I found myself looking back and forth to get both views.

From what we understood, these were Henson puppeteers first, and I was certainly skeptical that they could both master puppetry and improv comedy. The intro song, ‘PuppetUp” actually had me nervous this would be a somewhat painful musical. But this show is actually very, very funny. The improv is spot on, creative, and will keep you entertained.

The host is actor/comedian Patrick Bristow who directs in real-time onstage and keeps things moving, always finding the right moment to cut off a bit before it gets awkward.

If this format and style of comedy sounds at all appealing, definitely check it out while you can. It will be worth it.

Shows at the Union Square Theatre (100 East 17th Street) currently run through May 29th and tickets are available through TicketMaster. (All photos via Stuffed and Unstrung website)

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