Manipulate, Vu, five stars

Wunderkammer, four stars

Intronauts, three stars

Traverse, Edinburgh

The teaspoon is balanced on the rim of the cup... A short, sharp thump on the table-top - the spoon is suddenly in the cup. You could try this at home, but - like so many of the obsessively precise caprices in Vu (by Compagnie Sacékripa) – you would need to have the exquisite hand/eye co-ordination and spatial awareness of Etienne Manceau, the be-spectacled chap whose idiosyncratic approach to making a cuppa morphs into a comedic tour-de-force.

Even audience members have to follow his ‘just so’ house rules – get the task right, and you might get a marshmallow. Errors are met with a look of bristling affront, Manceau’s facial expressions and body language giving this wordless solo a telling insight into his pernickety character, his ritualistic foibles and his tendency to set himself improbable challenges. Thwack! There goes that spoon again – brilliant!

The curiosities that emerge from various boxes in Wunderkammer (by Figurentheater Tuebingen) are sometimes the stuff of nightmares. Strange half-human, half insect critters – akin to Hieronymus Bosch’s imaginings – sport long, spindly fingers that are creepily eager to wrap around the three puppeteers.

At other times, however, the apparitions are wispy, ethereal beings that flutter and vanish, like a half-remembered dream. If there is consummate craft in fashioning these bizarre forms from bits of wood, latex, gauze, there is also wonderfully nuanced skill in the deft hands that bring the puppets so vividly to life.

Never mind scary adventures in outer space – with Intronauts, Green Ginger has entered inner human space by having a miniscule ‘care-taker’ pod travel through one man’s body. The projected graphics, life-size pod and the puppetry that captures shifts in scale are all impressive, but the over-stretched plot doesn’t match this inventive flair, despite the best efforts of the overly goofy pod-person and the sad sack guy whose brain she infiltrates.

Mary Brennan