THE visually gorgeous creation of Fox is a slight departure from the usual presentations from Spare Parts Puppet Theatre with an emphasis is on dance rather than pure puppetry.
That said, co-creators director Michael Barlow, creative consultant Noriko Nishimoto and choreographer Jacob Lehrer have melded various arts to make a most beautiful work, aided by the descriptive music of Lee Buddle and background narration of Kyle Morrison.
The young audience attending learn the importance of friendship, the possibility of deep regard between vastly different individuals and the ever present risk of deception and betrayal.
The chortling of the happy magpies is silenced as Flame dances wildly in, setting alight forest and scrubland with its animals and birds unable to escape.
As Flame, Rachel Arianne Ogle gives a wonderful performance, before she becomes the personification of the sly and scheming Fox, intent on defrauding the survivors.
Poor Magpie (Jessica Lewis) has broken and burned her wing in the fire and the terrified disabled bird awaits her fate at the hands of Dog (Imanuel Dado) who instead unexpectedly helps and protects her, metaphorically trading his blind eye for her broken wing.
As the rain comes, Dog piggy backs Magpie to the river where they find other wondrous saved creatures and Fox sets about seducing Magpie away from the safety of Dog and into the desert.
When the lone wolf prefers his own company and Magpie is reconciled with Dog in their forest, the strength of loyalty is shown in this wonderful tale from Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks.
There is lots of fun too as the devoted Dog brings a gift of a magnificent summer flower to his loved Magpie, when the abundant pollen brings sneezing fits to both.
All performances are wonderfully sustained, particularly as Fox and Dog both host hand or head puppets for most of the time and Magpie has a perpetually broken wing – a wonderful test of balance and acting combined with dance.
Where: Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Fremantle
When: Until October 10 and then Mandurah Performing Arts Centre in November