Just a few weeks after what would have been "The Muppets" creator Jim Henson's 75th birthday, his son, Brian, is taking to the road with an uncensored improvisation comedy show, complete with puppets.
"Henson Alternative Stuffed and Unstrung," created in 2005 by Brian Henson and Patrick Bristow, is described on its website as a "live, outrageous, comedy, variety show for adults only."
Six puppeteers perform on stage with 80 puppets, called Miskreant Puppets, broadcast to the audience on two large screens. On stage, the audience sees the actors and puppets, but the television screens show only the puppets.
"The cast we've put together are all such pros, such top-notch improvisers and puppeteers," Bristow said. "Every time we perform is completely and utterly different. We want a fresh, unique, living show that's just a little nerve-racking."
There are no age restrictions, but the performance can be offensive and dark at times, so the audience is warned to be prepared.
"Improv isn't about being funny," said Liz Anderson, president of UF Theatre Strike Force. "It's about being interesting and realistic and finding the humor in it. Trying to entertain an audience is fairly difficult. You have to find the difference between having fun and making it a performance."
Bristow, who describes his emcee role as the "bridge between the audience and the puppeteers," said that part of the appeal of "Stuffed and Unstrung" comes from the brand name itself.
"When I first heard about the show, I was completely interested," said Michael Blachly, University of Florida Performing Arts director. "It's ideal for a student population who grew up knowing ‘The Muppets.' It's a mature look at puppets."
The show was named one of Entertainment Weekly's Top 10 Best Stage Shows of 2010, and the Miskreant Puppets most recently appeared at the 2011 Grammy Awards show, performing "Forget You" with Cee Lo Green and Gwyneth Paltrow.
"Stuffed and Unstrung" will take place Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Phillips Center. Student tickets are $15 for any seat in the house, and non-student tickets range from $25 to $45.
Tickets can be purchased by calling 352-392-2787 or going to ticketmaster.com.