Review: Planet of the Grapes (Edinburgh Fringe/ZOOTV, online)

Over on the ZOOTV platform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, you’ll find Planet of the Grapes, a delicious livestream performed live in New York City. I’m told that on Sunday the city was being battered by a hurricane, but it didn’t seem to cast a shadow on the show.

As you may suspect, Peter Michael Marino’s wildly inventive and very funny show is a parody of 1960s sci-fi screen classic Planet of the Apes. Instead of big movie stars, little cork men take the lead.

This is a dotty homage which really revels in its glorious silliness, low-budget props, impressive effects created before our very eyes, and well-placed moments of gore.

Planet of the Grapes is directed by Michole Biancosino and benefits from a sharp narration, an interval concert piece (by a grape, of course), and a fidelity to its original source you can sit back and enjoy.

Live shows can often go in strange directions, but in Marino’s hands the wildness is all meticulously planned, and the better for it.. You’ll laugh at the audicity, but admire the puppetry and fruitery, inspired by the Toy Theatres of Europe.

This is not a show in my usual comfort zone, but I appreciated how well crafted it was, and enjoyed the performance. What is particular notable is the successful integration of social issues in 60s America which are slotted into the zany narrative.

Fringe rating: *** (and a half)

There is one more livestream of Planet of the Grapes at the Edinburgh Fringe, on 24 August: buy your ticket here.