But those puppets were all pre-made, cleaving to our physical notion of puppetry. Liebe Wetzel and her troupe Lunatique Fantastique explode these puppetic preconceptions with their mind-bending, eye-popping flights of imagination, currently incarnated as The Wrapping Paper Caper. Wetzel's trademark technique is to use ordinary objects -- a feather duster, foam, or newspaper, for example -- to evoke surprisingly well-articulated characters. With a little rearrangement and a few simple gestures, these items come to life right before the audience's eyes, interacting with an amazing range of nuance and emotion. Though physical, the gut-busting humor that underscores each piece is never brutishly slapstick. Nor is it infantile: There's no need to reach deep into your inner child to be thoroughly tickled by the Fantastique folk.
In this Caper, a puppet private eye is hot on the trail of some styrofoam peanuts. He meets an eclectic cast of packing materials, including paper bag and cardboard tube constructions with names like "Saks-y BagLady," on his way to uncovering a holiday mystery. An ensemble of four additional puppeteers joins Wetzel as the show unfolds. It's bound to be a feel-good antidote to the rigors of buying, buying, buying -- the perfect way to unwrap a little delight this holiday season.