Henson High Jinks: Furry Puppets Making Saucy Talk

The only-for-grown-ups loosey-goosey stage show is back in town.

Why puppets and people -- as in grown-up people long past childhood -- aren't a natural and expected daily pairing, we can't be sure.

If only we all had a puppet on our hand to lend cheeky commentary when we're stressed in the bank line or in a meeting. So much easier, right? Stress-relieving in the sassiest sense.

Henson Alternative may lead the charge for this society-enhancing cause -- a puppet for everyone -- with its now long-running and much loved-upon stage show, "Puppet Up! -- Uncensored" It's a show for adults, and only adults, because the furry objects on the puppeteers' hands? Yeah, they're going there, wherever there is for the moment.

Let's just say if you've never blushed at a puppet delivering a particularly randy joke, that we'll almost certainly change while watching the Henson-style high jinks.

High jinks that are returning to Southern California for a trio of nights: Thursday, Feb. 20 through Saturday, Feb. 22. The spots? The Kirk Douglas in Culver City. The price? Thirty five bucks. The scene? Strictly an adult audience. We mean this. Seriously.

The show, by the by, is not pre-planned. Improvisation is key, and the half dozen puppeteers turn an ear to audience suggestions. Once the audience warms up, oh, exactly 80 seconds into the show, the saucier suggestions and eyebrow-raising ideas tend to fly, and the puppeteers go with it.

And how.

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Nope, you don't need to fan your fingers at your face and say "well, my vapors, I do declare!" The Jim Henson Company has created many, many classics of childhood over the years, and thank goodness. But a sunny subversiveness has long been at Henson's alt-embracing heart -- uh, Animal and Dr. Teeth and David Bowie as the Goblin King, anyone? -- and that cheeky exploration has played out in many ways.

Including a blush-inducing puppet show made for those long past the playpen. Funny and fearless stuff, both, and if there isn't a joke about where a puppeteer must place his or her hand, to operate a puppet, well. It won't be a night at "Puppet Up! - Uncensored."

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