PotatoRoom productions

created by Gavin Glover formerly from FaultyOptic Theatre of Animation

flogging a dead horse 2011/12

'This is an important work of art, not a requiem to Faulty Optic but a glimpse of adult puppetry’s future.'

Matthew Isaac Cohen from ANIMATIONS online



Look at the moon. How strange the moon seems!
She is like a woman rising from a tomb.
She is like a dead woman.
One might fancy she was looking for dead things.’
Oscar Wilde



flogging a dead horse

Amongst the ink blots, intercoms, coffee rings and pizza, there’s a little doorway down to the deepest ocean,
where the seabed sludge has a
similar chemistry to the chemistry of the human brain.
The brain hosts trillions of neurons each playing an endless game of mental pingpong.
Of course no-one really knows any of this as fact, although someone bravely went in search
and sent back reports, whilst others scrutinised and postulated and made lists.

Gavin Glover is formally from the world renowned visual theatre company Faulty Optic theatre of animation which was famous for their haunting tales, visual theatre, strange animated figures and dark, dark humour.
This new show by Gavin Glover engages two amateur scientists to plumb the depths of the Moon, the legend of Salome and the consequences of overthinking.



'freakish puppets and fizzing ideas' The Stage

'alive and piercing' Total Theatre Magazine




Performed by Gavin Glover and Philip Bosworth
Sound compositions and lighting design by Charles Webber
Additional music by Emmanuel Louis, Pierre Jacqmin
Special thanks to Isabelle Wery, Toztli Godinez de Dios
Puppets and set designed and made by Gavin Glover
Costumes by Rose Popham




Faulty Optic. Flogging a Dead Horse
Roundhouse. London International Mime Festival
29 January 2011

Reviewed by Matthew Isaac Cohen from ANIMATIONS online

Flogging a Dead Horse is announced as Gavin Glover’s last venture under the banner of Faulty Optic, the company he co-founded in 1987 with Liz Walker. The company is famous for its surreal micro-universes populated by eccentric and often obsessive creatures and the cast-offs of everyday life. Few would contest its claim to being the UK’s flagship adult puppet theatre company. This piece, created without Walker, might be read as Glover’s look back upon Faulty Optic’s working methods and themes. But it is more than a retrospective, and there is much more creative generativity than the ironic title would suggest.

This is a very dark show, post-apocalyptic and post-dramatic, depicting two men in a military hospital/base of operations/secret laboratory under the sea or on the moon who fashion puppets and bring life to objects, exchange sound samples and Rorschach images, casually engage in torture and indulge in Orientalist fantasies based on Salome. We are offered no sense of the two men's inner lives, no hint of their past histories. Steamship punk communication technologies are in evidence but there are no bridges to the outside world, only glimpses of dated media products, parodies of science films, and endless games to pass the time as in Samuel Beckett’s plays. Tensions mount but are disrupted by the stereotypical call: 'let's have a cup of tea'. The show is about nobody (who worries about the sell-by date of a brain?), or maybe about all of us. Very tedious and absolutely gripping at the same time, profoundly baffling and simultaneously deeply illuminating. This is an important work of art, not a requiem to Faulty Optic but a glimpse of adult puppetry’s future.





LONDON FESTIVAL FRINGE LONDON AWARDS 2012 reviewed by Laura Stratford

Flogging a Dead Horse ***

‘Flogging a Dead Horse’, the latest production by Faulty Optic(sic) is a mind-boggling mélange of puppetry, esoteric cerebral curiosities and musical madness. Founder of Faulty Optic, Gavin Glover and co-deviser, Philip Bosworth, plunge us down to the deepest depths of the sea and transport us to the moon and back in their quest to discover what lies behind the mental ping-pong between neurons and electrons in the human brain.

The stage is dark. We hear haunting noises and repetitive electro rhythms. Two masked figures slowly appear in the light, making us feel as if we’re passengers on a submarine or a spaceship. They find and collect fragmented puppet body parts, put them together and create the third anonymous character who is left alone at the end to face the puzzling world they’ve created.

Confused already? Good, because that’s the intention of this brilliant yet slightly bonkers production. There are no narrative plots or character arcs. This is an imaginative, clever and artistic performance. Our train of thought is portrayed as something nonsensical, banal and powerful as it governs our everyday lives and questions: What does this look like? What does this sound like? Highlights would have to be the live slicing-up and mushing of inked-human brain, the Gilbert and George-esque erratic dance scene with the puppet Salome, and the hilarious attempt to revive the eponymous ‘dead horse’.

The stage design is visually entertaining, and through different mediums such as live video and camera projections, we’re given a microscopic view of the numerous props that sit on stage or hang from the ceiling. The music effects, also arranged by Charles Webber, are sensory and mystifying. Complimented with Isabelle Wery’s direction, you’re left with an innovative and thought-provoking evening in skilled avant-garde puppetry. Who knows where Faulty Optic’s next adventure will lead…



This is a FaultyOptic co-production with PotatoRoom productions and it's creation was supported by:





The company require the venue to provide the following:

STAGE requirements
minimum performance area 7.5M WIDE x 5M DEEP x4M HIGH,
audience must be able to see the stage floor.
- 2 x 220/240volt direct power supplies USR and USL
- minimum 4 x 12.5Kg stage weights with lifting handles
- onstage wingspace/masking USL and USR
- rigging points above performance area for suspended models (0.5kg - 5kg) and associated PAR 36 pinspots (lighting bars are generally suitable for this and the positions are adaptable but some additional scaff or similar may be needed to achieve required positions)

LIGHTING requirements
7x PC,
4x PAR64,
2x Fresnels with barndoors,
2x profiles, (1 with iris)
7 PinSpots,
2 lighting tripods/stands
- all lighting fixtures or similar as shown in lighting plan (venue stock can be adapted as agreed in advance with the company). However, provision of 7 x PAR 36 pinspots is especially important.
- programmable lighting board inc stored scenes, crossfade times and “GO” button

SOUND requirements
- high quality PA (with sub-bass if possible)
- 16 channel sound mixer inc 6 mic channels with +48v phantom power, 8 line level jack inputs, 4 band eq with swept mids (specification similar to Allen & Heath WZ3)
- 5 balanced XLR mic stage feeds to FOH
- CD player in FOH rack

NB. Sound and lighting control positioning at FOH must allow single person operation.
These technical requirements may change or develop.