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Bill's 44th - 5***** - One4Review

Bill’s 44th – 5*****

| On 08, Aug 2023

Bill’s 44th ushers us into an intimate setting, hinting at a birthday celebration awaiting attendees. From the onset, the aura of Bill’s living space is both familiar and uncanny. With an artfully hung birthday sign and a marked calendar that captures our attention, we’re privy to a slice of Bill’s life. Dressed in a classic golf sweater, complete with a moustache and bald head, Bill exudes an everyman charm, yet there’s an undercurrent of anxiety. Bill’s 44th offers a whimsical dance between solitude and festivity, captivating the audience every step of the way.


Crafted by the ingenious duo of Dorothy James & Andy Manjuck, the show boasts a myriad of puppetry styles. Their nuanced control and creativity behind Bill elevate the narrative, adding depth to his singular journey. In this brilliant puppetry display, everyday moments teeter between humour and pathos, tugging at our innermost emotions.


Throughout the performance, laughter flows effortlessly. From Bill’s spirited interactions with household objects to unpredictable comedic sequences, the atmosphere remains vibrant and dynamic. Yet, there’s a beautifully crafted contrast as moments of silence allow the audience to reflect, and the jazz-infused background accentuates the show’s highs and lows.


Props, from the creatively doodled balloons to a seemingly innocuous carrot, take on larger roles, turning mundane objects into symbols of companionship and reflection. These quirky inclusions are not just delightful but add layers to the narrative. The play beautifully captures life’s unpredictability, where the ordinary becomes extraordinary.


Without revealing too much, let’s just say that a particular videotape introduces an element of nostalgia, transporting the audience through the labyrinth of life’s milestones. This segment is both relatable and reflective, painting a picture of the highs and lows of existence.


As the finale approaches, the line between puppet and spectator blurs, fostering a communal experience. Bill’s 44th transforms from a simple puppet show into a profound exploration of self-acceptance and the shared human experience of joy and longing. As you leave, one sentiment will echo, Bill’s 44th is a celebration of life, memory, and the passage of time, brilliantly executed and truly unforgettable.


Reviewed by Matthew

Underbelly Cowgate – Belly Button

20.35 (1hr)

Until 27 Aug (not 14)

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