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Made in China

Members say: Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Quirky, Great staging
76
Critics
78
21 reviews
Members
76
95 reviews
 

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.

... Read 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.

 

Cast & Creatives (20)



Reviews (116)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
78
Avg Score

80
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

75
Theatermania

"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

80
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

95
BroadwayWorld

"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

85
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

30
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

85
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

85
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

80
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

75
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

90
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

85
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

80
BlogCritics.org

"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

55
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

90
CurtainUp

"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

80
CHARGED.fm

"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

80
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

70
TheaterScene.net

"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

95
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

60
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

75
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

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
76
Avg Score

80
Funny, Clever, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Entertaining

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.

75
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a clever, original production using puppets to address edgy current political social issues

Don't see it if you want classic song and dance and coherent timeline and plot theater. This play is kooky and delightful and entertaining.

79
Original, Great singing, Bizarre

See it if you are looking for an adult puppet show with a message and a bizarre fantasy story. It was crazy but I enjoyed it.

Don't see it if you don't like puppet shows, don't want a preachy theme shoved down your throat. Are offended by naked puppets.

75
Quirky, Cliched, Visual, Fluffy, Tuneful

See it if Light fantasy satire and romantic comedy with gorgeous puppetry, catchy songs, silly gags and a shallow story.

Don't see it if You want more depth from the characters or the politics. Contrast of well known differences between US and China. Sugary ending.

70
Cliched, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you enjoy puppetry. Plot is really nothing new, and sexual overtone and puppet "nudity" wasn't really necessary.

Don't see it if you're expecting some profound, new insights into the life of an expat, or even consumerism.

Also Puppet work is great though! But I think this is best viewed if you're... Read more Read less

74
Clever, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you enjoy well staged puppet shows addressing serous issues with a comedic tone.

Don't see it if you do not like puppet shows or want serious issues addressed in a serious tone.

70
Cliched, Great staging

See it if You want to see masterful puppetry and have a few laughs.

Don't see it if For a show trying to push the boundaries and wanting to make audiences reflect, this felt a little conventional.

91
Funny, Clever, Edgy, Great acting

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

80
Preachy, Clever, Delightful, Quirky, Romantic

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.

86
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?

80
Clever, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Raunchy, Entertaining

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.

78
Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Refreshing, Great staging

See it if You want a thought provoking experience, this was surprisingly entertaining, funny, and poignant

Don't see it if You dislike puppets and puppet "sex"; topics of globalization and reflecting on how our actions impact others thousands of miles away

78
Ambitious, Clever, Enchanting, Intelligent

See it if You like Theater with puppets. It's an adult story with a great message. Loved the performances by the puppeteers.

Don't see it if You don't like stories of real people who hide behind puppets.

81
Funny, Entertaining, Great staging, 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

83
Creative, Absorbing, Delightful, Edgy, Entertaining

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.

87
Clever, Delightful, Hilarious, Entertaining, Whimsical

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

80
Ambitious, Clever, Intelligent, Entertaining, Great staging

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.

81
Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Great staging

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.

70
Clever, Well done, More expected

See it if you like puppets. The puppeteers do a great job in blending into the background. Fun to watch even if you don't relate to the politics.

Don't see it if you don't like puppets or fantasy. A bit of ribald action may offend some. After all the fun, it left me a little flat.

72
Funny, Quirky, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you want to see excellent puppetry within a story that mixes relevant political issues, humor, and absurdity. you like creative/quirky shows

Don't see it if you don't like plays with profanity & toilet humor (literally), you're mostly interested in the score & singing (it is the weakest part)

82
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Thought-provoking, Refreshing

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.

85
Funny, Original, Clever, Relevant, Great staging

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.

81
Funny, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

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.

85
Delightful, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Quirky, 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

81
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.