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Made in China

From 21 critic and 96 member reviews
Members say: Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Quirky, Great staging

About the show

Wakka Wakka presents a darkly comic puppet musical that explores issues of human rights, consumerism, and global relations via a quirky romance between a middle-aged American woman and her Chinese ex-pat neighbor. More…

An isolated woman finds solace in shopping. After one of her big-box sprees, she finds a cry-for-help note stuffed in a box of Halloween lights, written by a woman in a Chinese labor camp. Inspired into activism, she embarks on an odyssey of global proportions. Inspired by true events, 'Made in China' includes 30 puppets, songs inspired by both American and Chinese traditions, and animated videos. Note: This puppet show is not for children and features nudity, profanity, and adult situations.


"A very entertaining, socially relevant adult puppet show…It is a completely mesmerizing performance that enjoys excellent direction...'Made In China' explores the important subjects of human rights, consumerism and morality with humor and heart…It features 30 wonderfully crafted puppets, seven incredibly talented and versatile puppeteers, original music, and animated video…The fast-paced dialogue is clever, yet thoughtful…’Made in China’ is storytelling at its very finest." Full Review

Manhattan With a Twist

"The Wakka Wakka ensemble has truly put together something special...By the time the production ends, we have both laughed out loud and invested emotions as hard as the laughs for them...The technical aspects of this show were all top-notch…‘Made In China’ is one of those shows I couldn’t recommend enough...It asks a lot from the audience. But it rewards you with an experience you will not find easy anywhere else, and for that we should celebrate." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"In the most hilarious, brilliant, and over-the-top way imaginable, the ensemble carries the characters through trials and tribulations that are simultaneously preposterous and painfully realistic…Certainly there is some room for improvement when it comes to clarification and accuracy of specific historical facts…But the company’s approach to this issue is direct, sincere, and passionate, yet also sympathetic with a sense of humor. And that is indeed quite the formula for good theatre." Full Review


"One of the most engaging shows to hit the stage this season...Although the whys and wherefores of the events in this show are not always clear, the characters are so appealing and the action moves so quickly, such considerations seem minor...'Made in China' combines the global story of Chinese forced labor with an intimate story of love and fulfillment between two isolated individuals. And it does so with humor, pathos and commitment." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

“'Made in China' is a farcical, musical, phantasmagorical odyssey that, while hitting various political marks, remains engaging throughout its hour and 20 minutes...'Made in China' sometimes allows its preoccupation with puppet artistry, special effects, video projections, and the like to muffle its satirical objectives. That, however, is a small price to pay for a work of such creative imagination and performative skill. Best of all, of course, 'Made in China' was made in the U.S.A.” Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"The show is artful in avoiding a feeling of American smugness while criticizing the human rights record in China...With a tuneful score by Yan Li, 'Made in China' is so smart and entertaining in so many ways that one easily forgives the incoherent storyline upon which the satirical aspects are built...But what’s best about 'Made for China' is not the politics or the poignancy or the pornography, but the puppetry." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

“Wakka Wakka fulfills its mission ‘to push the boundaries of the imagination’ with this daring exploration of the relationship of the United States to China and of the underbelly of America’s current political climate...‘Made in China’s’ puppets often push the limits of propriety to express deep feelings and to raise rich and enduring questions. It does not get any more relevant than that." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"A magical adult puppet show simultaneously hilarious and touching. Two beautifully wrought adult puppets go on a surreal journey, only to discover that the ensuing personal and political epiphanies have changed them forever...The puppetry is technically astounding in its smoothness and expressiveness. Furniture seems to float on and rotate in space, while the skilled puppeteers transform the two leading characters and their dogs into warmly expressive beings." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"Bright and smart, filled with humor and depth, we aren’t sure where it is going, but we sit back and trust that it will be a fun, wild ride into a thoughtful engaging world...It’s pretty inventive stuff, the journey this talented team of puppeteers takes us on. A tad simplistic at times...the work overall is illuminating. With numerous catchy and surprisingly humorous songs...An adult-aimed puppet show that is captivating and full of surprises and laughs." Full Review

The New York Times

"Clearly narrative logic is not a high priority for Wakka Wakka...But the puppets, designed by Mr. Waage, have such distinctive personalities that the plot’s absurdities rarely intrude on our enjoyment...The many inanimate objects that populate the show are brought to life with a magical vividness that enchants. The romantic comedy and sociopolitical polemic aspects of 'Made in China' may not always be smoothly integrated, but the show’s visual allure never ceases." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Wakka Wakka’s madly audacious new show, 'Made in China,' defies labels. It is, somehow, a musical satirical romantic puppet thriller...'Made in China' takes full advantage of the freedom that being a puppet show affords. Seven skilled performers, hidden in black clothes and veils, wrangle Waage’s full-body puppets in a variety of inventive sequences...The show may be a little messy—the personal plot is more sharply defined than the political one—but it’s packed with happy surprises." Full Review


"Brightly gripping, and written and directed in a classic fabulist style, it’s replete with innovative marvels of illusion; moreover, it centers on two of the more memorable puppet characters I’ve had the pleasure of meeting...The story deepens into sociopolitical commentary even as it expands into increasingly impressive feats of puppetry...For the most part, the story’s disparate elements turn out to have meaning as part of a cohesive narrative. There’s even a satisfying full-circle aspect." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

“’Made in China’ is a puppet story and a delightfully savage satire of the way Americans willfully ignore the complexities of China while benefiting from its repressive policies and mass production chain…There are plenty of clichés about China here; the pleasure is in watching them get sent up like Chinese firecrackers…The other pleasure here is watching the ensemble at work: eight puppeteers plus the Norwegian Minensemblet performing live.” Full Review


"The genius of 'Made in China' is that with puppetry, everything is the same degree of artificial, which means that everything you see on that stage is equally real...American complicity in this Chinese industrial complex is touched on in a few moments in the play, but could certainly have been highlighted more...All together, 'Made in China' is an impressive creation, an entertaining glimpse into the everyday and the fantastical all in one musical journey." Full Review


"A surprisingly thoughtful story about the rise of modern China and our relationship to it as American consumers...Warnock and Waage's caffeinated and rigorous staging mostly offsets the effects of the unshorn script...The tone of 'Made in China' is so often derisive that it is difficult to tell when the creators are being sincere...We walk away from the theater with a feeling of profound ambivalence, suspicious of the stuff in our apartments and wanting to know more." Full Review

Theater In The Now

“A cartoonish romp that packs a feisty punch. The humor Warnock and Waage infuse is colorfully ominous, helping to ensure the message is heard loud and clear. With the puppet nature of the narrative, when the story goes off the rails, it is forgiven. In a way…If logic and politically correct theater is more your speed, 'Made in China' is absolutely not for you. But if you like boundaries being challenged, Wakka Wakka has done so. It's not perfect but it's perfectly refreshing." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"Despite some clunky chunks in the middle of its duration, 'Made in China' is wacky and thoughtful, a bit obvious in its message perhaps, but with a good heart, and it is generally pretty funny—no particularly easy feat considering its references to a dark reality...The songs range from amusing to tedious...For the most part, the show is a highly digestible affair that is visually sweet and deceptively disturbing." Full Review


"Unfortunately, the dogs are ditched about halfway through—when the shows big plot twist arrives—and the effects are noticeable. Mary and Eddie's characters are not very amicable in nature, nor are they very likable either. Sure, they are written genuinely, but as the show gets weirder and weirder, the focus strays from that of the duo's relationship to an obstructive and confusing political commentary which is both distracting and unclear." Full Review

Says Me Says Mom

"Anyone who does not like fantasy definitely will not enjoy this show. However, if you are interested in something that is completely different, you may enjoy the show. The puppeteers are talented and portray their characters well...The show is a musical although most of the songs are not very memorable...All in all the show is a very unique theatrical experience just not for children." Full Review

Off Off Online

"While the puppetry is of a high order, this musical’s theatrics mask a disappointing vacuity at the heart of the endeavor. The socio-political content of the piece seldom rises above simplistic disavowals of alleged Chinese labor practices and American obsession with money and consumer durables...It’s natural to wonder whether a clash of aesthetics among such disparate contributors may not be the cause of this show’s anemic socio-political perspective and the haphazard nature of its narrative." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"In truth, ‘Made in China’ is headed in so many directions at once, it's hard to know what to make of it all. Its socioeconomic points are glancing at best…The script scrambles after laughs in various unseemly ways…So much creativity, so much bad taste: Despite the mastery of the theatre crafts on display, 'Made in China' is a silly, superficial entertainment that pretends to a significance it can't really attain while aiming shockingly low for laughs." Full Review

Clever, Edgy, Great writing

See it if You like thought provoking, timely topics of human rights, consumerism and morality channeled through puppetry

Don't see it if You don't like puppetry

Ambitious, Intelligent, Refreshing

See it if you enjoy quirky funny puppets and clever story and lyrics.

Don't see it if you need to hold onto traditional theatrical tropes.

Clever, Great acting, Edgy, Funny

See it if You enjoy puppet shows. Like political barbs. Like puppet sex scenes. Talented cast. Fascinating staging

Don't see it if You don't like puppet show

Naked puppets will never not be funny, Ambitious, Delightful, Clever, Great singing

See it if you enjoy irreverent, pointed satire. Political without being preachy. Staging worked even up in the nosebleeds. Needed more Giant Panda!

Don't see it if you don't enjoy puppets in association with adult themes and language.

Entertaining, Hilarious, Clever, Whimsical, Delightful

See it if Masterfully done puppetry w/ adult humor. A delightful story with whimsical visuals, non stop laughs, heart & a nice message.

Don't see it if You hate puppets, however the two main characters are so well developed and performed you feel like you're watching real people.

Also The best production I've seen at 59E59 and I've seen a lot there. It w... Read more Read less

Clever, Epic, Masterful

See it if I loved it so much. The plot was genius. The music was great as well. I loved the puppets

Don't see it if If you do not like dolls and puppets

Inventive, Artful, A bit confusing

See it if You think it will be funny, a puppet show, it begins with a naked older character bemoaning her aging body. She sings a song of sadness.

Don't see it if Who can be prepared for such pain interjected into a puppet show?

Clever, Great staging, Hilarious, Relevant, Ambitious

See it if This manages to deliver a timely gut-punch on human rights, but wrapped in a deliciously giddy fantatical musical love story. Genius.

Don't see it if If you think puppet shows are just for kids, or if puppet nudity offends you, or you're a big old no-fun fuddyduddy.

Clever, Relevant, Funny, Great staging, Original

See it if you're up for something entirely different. This is that show you leave and tell your friends to see, then struggle to describe it to them.

Don't see it if you dislike innovative theater. Actually go see it anyway. You will laugh right along with everyone else, & be moved at least a little, too.

Delightful, Edgy, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You're up for a biting & very funny, sometimes savage political satire of US-Chinese interdependence and consumerism at this moment in time.

Don't see it if You dislike puppets, political theatre or fantasy, or critiques of modern American life. Or puppets engaged in explicit behavior & opinions.

Also Made in China is best seen with an open mind & no expectations, surpri... Read more Read less

Delightful, Raunchy, Quirky, Funny, Utterly unique

See it if you think you've seen everything, because it's like nothing else. Or if you dig geopolitics, or weird theater, or human nature.

Don't see it if you're uncomfortable watching anatomically specific puppets interact romantically, even if it's about as tasteful as that can be.

Absorbing, Delightful, Creative, Entertaining, Edgy

See it if Leave it to puppets to tell a funny, political, romantic, raunchy story that most people can accept. Masterful puppetry; lots of fun.

Don't see it if you want to see a typical musical with humans as the main draw; you do not like puppets with strong personalities.

Clever, Quirky, Raunchy, Funny, Entertaining

See it if enjoy puppet shows along the line of avenue q. very skilled presentation by talented crew

Don't see it if dont enjoy puppets shows or not interested in chinese history.

Weird but wonderful, Quirky, Delightful, Ambitious, Excellent puppetry

See it if you want to see a puppet show on par w/live action theater (acting, singing, video projections, it's got it all!). You like quirky shows.

Don't see it if you hate puppets, would be bothered by puppet nudity/brief swearing, or need highly realistic (no magic) resolutions to problems.

Also The beginning of 'Made in China' was so awesome it made me think: "If ... Read more Read less

Clever, Delightful, Funny, Refreshing, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy something a little different, this is story telling via masterful puppetry. It is focused on human rights violations in China.

Don't see it if You want a tighter storyline. This requires some use of your imagination.

Funny, Great staging, Entertaining, Surprising

See it if Unexpected surprise. Great puppetry, seamless. Vibrant, funny and creative. Adult themes mashed with surreal plots.

Don't see it if You dislike puppets, profanity or "sexual" content.

Also We left the theater elated. ... Read more Read less

Delightful, Clever, Great staging, Great acting

See it if like avenue Q, this is a for-adults-only puppet musical - but different in that the humans are shrouded so the puppets do the acting. GREAT!

Don't see it if you absolutely despise puppetry even when done masterfully.

Funny, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy clever (and often times masterful) puppetry, combined with humor and political/social commentary.

Don't see it if you need a dramaturgically sound script.

Clever, Entertaining, Thought provoking

See it if you enjoy stories told with puppets about relationships with people of different cultures & human rights in China told with original songs.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy shows like Avenue Q or the Woodsman where puppets are the stars of the show and interact with people.

Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if you wonder what it would be like to have a Chinese neighbor.

Don't see it if you hate puppets. This is a puppet musical.

Delightful, Quirky, Romantic, Clever, Preachy

See it if clever, outrageous and breakthrough staging, puppets and characters can compensate for a preachy & somewhat confusing theme. Worked for me.

Don't see it if x-rated puppets are not your thing.

Clever, Entertaining, Quirky, Raunchy, Thought-provoking

See it if Amazing puppetry! Interesting exportation of our US relationship to the things made in China and what the impaction is their and our lives.

Don't see it if The puppet nudity /sex is funny at first and then gets rather perverse. A large use of stereotyping on the US and Chiness side is exported.

Entertaining, Funny, Clever, Relevant, Raunchy

See it if you liked Avenue Q, are open to catching the flurry of serious ideas touched on by the plot, and are curious about unadorned puppet nudity.

Don't see it if you don't like puppets, are sensitive about bodily functions frankly portrayed, and don't care one whit about China-US relations.

Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if like thoroughly entertaining, some raunchiness, clever, wonderful staging & use of puppeteers all in black.

Don't see it if you don't like puppetry, some politics, and some profanity.

Clever, Entertaining, Ambitious, Funny

See it if If you can appreciate the unique artistry of puppetry that explores complex ideas with humor, music and great visual panache.

Don't see it if If you are offended by puppet nudity.

Cast & Creatives (20)