Fringe 2009 – Returning Favorites – Walking Shadow

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“My roommate’s a penguin.”

Walking Shadow Theatre Company

Squawk

An elite military intelligence training program.

Two officers. One penguin.

Who will make it through?

I think writer/actor/director John Heimbuch is one of the few performers whose resume has the role

Shakespeare (Killer of Zombies)

followed by the role

Penguin

But that’s Walking Shadow for you.

After the monster ensemble mayhem that was last year’s Fringe hit Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead, they’re back with just three actors (Ryan Lindberg, Melissa Anne Murphy, Peter Ooley) and an enormous, immediately bewitching, puppet of an Emperor Penguin, operated by Heimbuch and fellow co-founder of Walking Shadow, David Pisa. Co-founder Amy Rummenie is back in the director’s chair, where she continues to work wonders.

And so, a military penguin.

…the hell?

Best not to question too strenuously, though. These folks are on a roll with oddities, after all…

Their first outing

2004 – The Lives of the Most Notorious Highwaymen

dealt with highway robbers of a few centuries past

The followup, which landed them on my 2005 Top 10 list

10-Speed Revolution

was about a band of anarchist bicyclists and a nuclear bomb

2006 – 1926 Pleasant

a live action puzzle box solved by the audience in an unused condo

and of course, last year’s mega-hit

2008 – Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead

a group of Elizabethan actors trying to face down a horde of zombies

The Fringe’s YouTube page should have the Fringe-For-All clip up in the coming days, so check back there and see for yourself. The minute the penguin walked onstage and started interacting with his fellow soldiers, I swear I could hear half the audience scribbling “must see this one” on their little program scorecards. You probably will, too. I did. Meanwhile, some other online resources…

The write-up I thought I didn’t do last year. Ah well, this year’s written now, too – Returning Favorite 2008 version

Their website – walkingshadowcompany.org

Their show page