Adam Francis Proulx performs in Baker’s Dozen: 12 Angry Puppets in Surrey on Sept. 23.

Splish-slash, puppet show is a smash

Baker’s Dozen: 12 Angry Puppets courtroom drama/puppet show/mystery in Surrey on Friday, Sept. 23.

Andrew Fleming

It’s been more than 200 years since the nursery rhyme “Rub-a-dub-dub” first appeared in print, and the popular preschooler poem still isn’t circling the proverbial drain.

A new variation on the timeless tale of three men sharing a tub takes place Sept. 23 when puppeteer Adam Francis Proulx brings his one-man show Baker’s Dozen: 12 Angry Puppets to the Centre Stage at Surrey City Hall.

Proulx plays a variety of characters in the one-man show by altering the appearance of his on-hand marionette Mr. Potato Head-style in the show, which was one of the hits from last year’s Vancouver Fringe Festival.

The Toronto-based playwright/performer has returned to B.C. with yet another puppet show, the two-person Does Not Play Well With Others, for this year’s Fringe, and he said puppets’ portability makes it easy do another show on the side.

“It’s a very transportable show,” he said over the phone Sept. 16, adding he will be touring it across in province in coming weeks. “You can get most stuff into one box and briefcase.”

Baker’s Dozen: 12 Angry Puppets is a murder mystery that riffs on Reginald Rose’s classic courtroom procedural 12 Angry Men.

After the baker from the noted nursery rhyme is found dead in a tub, his husband the butcher is accused of murder while the candlestick maker himself has disappeared.

While there has long been speculation regarding the sexuality of bathtub mates Bert and Ernie of Sesame Street fame, Proulx’s could be the first show to feature puppets who have officially tied the knot.

“I actually make a joke about that right off the bat,” said Proulx. “Just to get it out of the way because that is what’s on everyone’s mind. I can’t think of any other married gay puppets. Mind you, people do weird things with puppets all the time.”

The adult subject matter hints that these puppets have more in common with the foul-mouthed crew from the hit musical Avenue Q than they do with Jim Henson’s kid-friendly crew, and Proulx says the show is probably best suited to audiences aged 15 and older.

“It depends on your kids, like anything. It’s not that bad. I swear a little bit. I would’ve been fine seeing it at 12, but my parents were hippies.”

Tickets are $20-40, including all fees. For advance tickets, call the Surrey Civic Theatres box office at 604-501-5566 or visit tickets.surrey.ca. Tickets will also be available at the door. The curtain rises at 8 p.m.