Puppets parade through city streets

00:46, Oct 28 2013
Canterbury Tales, Festa 2013
ATMOSPHERIC: Puppets and other scenes from the Canterbury Tales parade at Festa 2013, Christchurch.
Canterbury Tales 2013
HOODED FIGURE: Puppets and other scenes from the Canterbury Tales parade at Festa 2013, Christchurch.
Canterbury Tales 2013
PAINTED FACES: Puppets and other scenes from the Canterbury Tales parade at Festa 2013, Christchurch.
Canterbury Tales 2013
DETAILED: Puppets and other scenes from the Canterbury Tales parade at Festa 2013, Christchurch.
Canterbury Tales 2013
HANDS UP: Puppets and other scenes from the Canterbury Tales parade at Festa 2013, Christchurch.
Canterbury Tales 2013
PROCESSION: Puppets and other scenes from the Canterbury Tales parade at Festa 2013, Christchurch.
Canterbury Tales 2013
CITY STREETS: Puppets and other scenes from the Canterbury Tales parade at Festa 2013, Christchurch.
Canterbury Tales 2013
ANGELIC: Puppets and other scenes from the Canterbury Tales parade at Festa 2013, Christchurch.
Canterbury Tales, Festa 2013
GERRY BROWNLEE SPOOF: Puppets and other scenes from the Canterbury Tales parade at Festa 2013, Christchurch.
Canterbury Tales 2013
GATHERING: A rapt crowd take in the outdoor entertainment.
Canterbury Tales 2013
UNIQUE: A colourful array of moveable objects entertain the crowd.
Canterbury Tales 2013
PURPLE REIGN: Christchurch's streets were swarthed in lights for the event.

Ahh Christchurch, you missed another good one.

The Canterbury Tales parade performed last night to a crowd of less than 2000 people, but they were treated to a masterful performance.

The five huge puppets - notably the six-metre-tall Wife of Bath - were fabulous creations and best of all was the 5m-tall Scholar puppet.

He was the most sophisticated mechanically and voiced by the most sophisticated performer and ad-libber on the night, Canterbury Tales project director George Parker.  

The six lesser puppets - depicting friars - almost stole the the show. Few would have missed that one strongly resembled Earthquake Minister Gerry Brownlee and another was almost certainly Prime Minister John Key. But the puppeteers didn't act these personalities necessarily.

All of the friars were full of antics, embracing the audience with huge hands, high-fiving children and making small disputes with other characters.

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The audience was allowed amongst the parade and puppets. We were free to cross the street, walk alongside the floats and interact with the puppets (and some wolves and a warg on stilts).

Of the dozens of parade marshalls, only one really tried to keep the audience in its place. At installations along the way, the audience was lightly challenged.

The Angel of History was balanced by an earthquake of horrible sound. Maori had symbolically occupied Cathedral Square and questioned the puppets and audience about colonial history. But these Maori also gave way to the puppets, all British in origin, and the parade ended in peace.

In The Canterbury Tales, the 14th-century satire by Chaucer, pilgrims try to outwit each other. In yesterday's Canterbury Tales, there was plenty of wit and satire and the tallest puppet managed to fit under the new tram wires.

Last year, the Festival of Transitional Architecture gave us LuxCity, the fabulous light show. This year Festa gave us Canterbury Tales, a fabulous procession.

Don't miss whatever they come up with next year.

The Press