Tarrare The Freak

The Depraved Appetite of Tarrare the Freak

A monstrous chamber opera for puppets based on the true story of Tarrare the Freak

From his beginnings as a sideshow freak in 18th Century Paris, to his service as a spy for the French Revolutionary Army, Wattle & Daub Figure Theatre trace the story of Tarrare’s insatiable hunger using puppetry, movement, and a thrilling original score.

A monstrous chamber opera for puppets based on the true story of Tarrare the Freak, an 18th century French revolutionary spy with an insatiable appetite for live cats, amputated limbs and the occasional toddler. Tarrare’s grizzly story ends on the autopsy table – a defining moment in medical history.

Featuring over twenty puppets and a thrilling original score by internationally renowned pianist and composer Tom Poster, The Depraved Appetite of Tarrare the Freak tells the extraordinary true story of one man’s quest to be human in a world that sees him as a monster.

Shortlisted for the 2013 Flourish New Opera Competition.

Created in collaboration with Hattie Naylor and with music by Tom Poster. Aya was one of puppeteers/devisers in this production. 

20mins work-in-progress was shown at Old Vic Bristol Frament on 19th July 2012.

Watlle and Daub Figure Theatre are a Bristol-based puppetry and visual theatre company. More information on Wattle & Daub Figure Theatre

Tarrare the Freak Trailer

Haunting… atmospheric… the show’s emotional force, small-scale but palpable, chiefly resides in the puppets, so gracefully handled by Tobi Poster and Aya Nakamura

The Times

This is not just top-class puppeteering, but the highest order of theatrical illusion… This is a young company which understands fully the potential of its medium and its own power to use it. Miss them at your cost

Critics Circle

★★★★★
Like nothing that’s been on the London stage before… The Depraved Appetite of Tarrare the Freak is morbid theatre and opera so groundbreaking it demands to be seen

Grumpy Gay Critic

★★★★★
A deeply moving true story, beautifully told with gothic aplomb… not to be missed

The Reviews Hub

Overflowing with exquisite puppetry and music, bursting with brilliant performances, and rich in emotion and surprisingly powerful characterization, this creepy, heartbreaking chamber opera is a stunning feast for the eyes and ears

A Younger Theatre

Cast Members

  • Puppeteers: Aya Nakamura and Tobi Poster-Su
  • Singers: Daniel Holm and Michael Longden
  • Musicians: An Ting Chang (Piano) and Katy Rowe/Justin Wilman (Violin)

Production Credits

  • A Chamber Opera by Tom Poster & Tobi Poster-Su
  • Director: Sita Calvert-Ennals
  • Associate Director, Director of development process: Laura Purcell-Gates
  • Story in collaboration with: Hattie Naylor
  • Produced by: Strike A Light
  • Executive Producer: Sarah Blowers
  • Producer: Ellie Harris
  • Production Design: Rebecca Wood
  • Lighting Design: Mark Parry
  • Puppet Design: Wattle & Daub with Emma Powell
  • Music Director: An-Ting Chang
Tarrare the Freak Full Production