Careful What You Wish For features Strassman’s regular stable of friends including fan favourite Ted E. Bare and the menacing, acid-tongued Chuck Wood. Also making appearances are Sid Beaverman, Kevin the alien, Strassman’s first female character A.N.G.E.L., and my personal favourite Ted’s Grandpa Fred. The premise of the show is that the robot A.N.G.E.L. has downloaded an application which gives her the power to grant wishes, leading to a journey through an alternate reality. Meanwhile, Chuck has manipulated the other puppets into supporting his bid to take over Strassman’s mind.
Strassman is undoubtedly a highly skilled ventriloquist, but, despite a workable premise, the humour leaves something to be desired. I remember liking Strassman very much in years gone by but somehow at 55 you feel that perhaps he should have developed out of the need to score a laugh by having every single one of his ‘male’ puppets leer at female audience members. That said, there are funny moments here, especially with Ted E. Bare and Grandpa Fred who are always winners.
The set and puppetronics are great and really help to bring the characters to life. This, combined with Strassman’s huge experience as an international-level ventriloquist, often makes you forget you are watching a one-man show. Careful What You Wish For will appeal to Strassman fans and anyone who doesn’t mind a bit of Benny Hill-esque bawdy humour. But the rest of you should be prepared for a few awkward moments.