James Blond - The first-ever puppet B(l)ond film takes place in Hollywood during the shooting of a new film about the immortal agent. Transferring the classic Bond clichés and special effects into marionette and glove-puppet theatre provides the opportunity for some amazing and very funny gags. The puppets’ short and brilliantly witty scenes are shot by a cameraman (also a puppet) using miniature technology, which then relays the action on stage and the details of the characters on to a screen above the stage. The joining of the principle of film and puppet illusion highlights the puppet-like nature of the classic Bond film characters, providing an ironic view of the artificial world of the film industry and tabloid press.
"James Blond – ”My name is Bond! James Bond!“ Millions of people know his name. He is the subject of literary criticism, political theory and sociological studies, of academic colloquia. The bullet-proof super-spy with his inimitable style is one of those characters whose global popularity just cries out for parody. In James Blond, Peřina creates a light-hearted paraphrase of the most typical characters, motifs, speeches and props of the Bond myth, as well as the bizarre background of the film studios where a Blond film is being shot – complete with the considerable problems that come with the title character and his Blond girl. Behind each Bond film there is another story, no less dramatic than that which takes place on the screen – the story of how the film arose. Peřina’s play is largely that “second story.“ A purely puppet play, it provides an original combination of marionettes and glove puppets, and is further evidence of what puppets can do.
Peřina’s pithy twenty-page play does not contain one unnecessary word. The punchline and verbal wit are carefully prepared and developed (…) Under this playful text, however, the director also manages to discreetly reveal a “deeper meaning”. The appearances of the pushy television reporter Sylvie, who aims to produce a conveyor belt of sensational interviews from the set according to tried and tested formulae, are brilliantly inserted in the play, stepping up the tension like sports commentaries. The action is filmed by a puppet cameraman with a miniature camera that actually transmits the footage on the little stage, including the details of the little puppet figures. This direct broadcast allows us to step inside this artificial world from the point of view of the puppets, which is a distinctly odd experience. Moreover, the screen also shows animated additional footage of some adventurous episodes such as the parachuting scenes. The puppet illusion thus unmasks the “tricks“ of film illusion, at the same time itself creating and using an artificial world of illusion. As it multiplies, this remarkable spectacle develops the greatest themes of theatrical production: the relationship between the picture of reality and the artificial, manipulated illusion of reality. (…) It is clear that with James Blond, Alfa Theatre has produced another puppet bestseller in the same family as the unforgettable Dogheads and Bloody Knee, a production that does not treat children as stupid, and which their mummies and daddies can enjoy alongside them."
(by Marie Reslová, Loutkář)
"This completely puppet production with art design by Marek Zákostelecký that is relatively traditional but highly witty in its details, directed with rhythmic pithiness by Tomáš Dvořák, collides with plot twists and turns that in their “wooden” form are necessarily irresistible: a lightning-fast striptease by an inane actress; characters drinking at the bar and their subsequent difficulty in coordinating their movements (…) Peřina’s text contains a whole range of puns and other word play, and downright original ideas."
(by Jan Kerbr, Divadelní noviny)
"An excellent production that is well-served by Vratislav Šrámek’s music – and in another way, provoking further significances, the song Martini dry from the film Tomorrow Never Dies, recorded by Lucie Bílá, also fits well. James Blond at the Alfa Theatre is designed for adults and young people and will please both alike. It will leave demanding audiences fully satisfied, and connoisseurs of Bond films totally enthralled."
(by Ladislava Lederbuchová, Deník)