ORLANDO – Adam Francis Proulx is a very funny performer, a comedic talent with an arsenal of voices that he switches back and forth to with a tremendous amount of skill. He has an ability to create a seemingly endless array of quirky, goofy personas.
That skill comes in handy during his show at the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, as Proulx comes onto a bare stage, and then entertains by creating one hilarious character after another.
Oh, and he gets some help — from the puppet he carries, and the kit filled with eyes, mouths and wigs to help transform that solitary puppet into — well, the many jurors at the trial that makes up his show, “Baker’s Dozen: 12 Angry Puppets.”
Proulx’s show is about the ongoing trial following the shocking discover that the local Baker has been found dead in his bathtub. The Baker’s husband, the Butcher is the main suspect, and is now on trial for the crime.
But the jurors also need to decide what role the the mysterious Candlestick Maker — who also happened to be in the bathtub at the time — may have played in this case. And the Candlestick Maker is missing.
It’s all up to that 12-member jury to sort out the facts for us.
Proulx’s show is a lot of fun — think of it as a bit more risqué than “Sesame Street,” but not quite as outre as “Avenue Q.”
It follows the basic concept of the 1957 Hollywood movie “12 Angry Men,” only in this case there are several women on the jury, and they’re a diverse bunch, often more interested in one another — not always in a good way — than the case.
Along the way, Proulx’s many jurors start to explore their own preconceived notions about what it means to be gay — and an outsider in a traditional-minded society.
After all, the male victim and the male suspect were married, so the jurors privately have to sort out their own preconceived notions about the gay community. One elderly man admits that in his day, there wasn’t much in the way of gay pride. Another country bumpkins insists he doesn’t know much about homosexuality — in a way that suggests he is so absolutely in denial.
Proulx uses the dual concept in a clever and engaging way, poking fun at society’s misconceptions and prejudices, while at the same time putting those ideas into a story where the characters have to confront a serious challenge: the need for a fair verdict.
And in the meantime, his puppets are a riot.
After each character is introduced, Proulx dashes over to his ‘jury box’ filled with noses, eyeballs, and wigs to dress up the next character. Watching that persona get created is as much fun as what comes next.
And as a performer, Proulx definitely knows how to charm an audience.
Catch the final two performances of “Baker’s Dozen: 12 Angry Puppets” in the Red Venue on:
* Today at 10:30 p.m.
* Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Proulx also announced at the end of Friday’s show that he had won the Patron’s Pick for his venue (for selling the most tickets in that venue) and would get a report performance on Monday. Stay tuned for times, TBD.
For tickets visit Orlando Fringe.
To learn more about the show, visit 12 Angry Puppets, Adam Francis Proulx, and Pucking Puppets Co..
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Bloody Rabbit”. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com..