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Mongolian Death Worm: A Puppet Show Musical Review

Reviewed By: Bethany Hill

When you hear ‘puppet show musical’, visions of The Muppets, Sesame Street or perhaps even Avenue Q may come to mind. However, this show - Mongolian Death Worm - is something different altogether. Produced by and starring Michael A. Grant and James Ure, this comedy/faux horror hybrid will provide you with some laugh-aloud moments and leave you feeling amused albeit perhaps rather perplexed! The show was created in lockdown 2020 and whilst it’s homemade feel is apparent through handmade backdrops and the online platform, the hours and effort put into its production is evident. 

The story begins with The Ballad of The Mongolian Deathworm, an introduction to the horrors being faced by the people of Mongolia with a sort of Sweeney Todd-esque atmosphere. We are then introduced to Professor Andrews who is sent to Mongolia by his university because of a meat shortage that is believed to be caused by the deathworm. Upon his arrival, he encounters several characters including a witch doctor and a yodeling villager who helps him to formulate plans to stop the deathworm once and for all. Amongst these plans are a ‘Steak-out’ … the meat puns write themselves! Through songs that stay faithful to a rhyming structure, the plot is revealed to us including a twist that I’m not sure any of us were expecting. 

The first thing to note is that this is a show that does not take itself too seriously. It is at times quite meta; my favourite example of this is the villain’s song Every Hero Needs A Villain in which a character explains their own relevance to the plot with comedic effect. Other examples of this include lines such as ‘I have a wife and two finger puppets to feed’. Some songs are indeed quite catchy and show Grant and Ure’s clear understanding of what components a musical needs, from our opening number to the hero’s wistful I Dream of a World Without Sand. This self-reflective nature is helpful when enjoying the show as the plot is bizarre and certainly light-hearted. The attention to detail in this production is noticeable; all puppets and backdrops were made from household items and sound effects are also provided. 

Whilst this show is not one comparable to some of the greats that we may go and see on stage and is not likely to become a family favourite, for a show produced in lockdown it certainly provides some comic relief and with a short running time of 68 minutes, it may be just the tonic you need after a day at work. I’m not sure that it will be one I reach for regularly but it certainly made for an interesting Saturday night! 

Rating: ⭐⭐

You can watch Mongolian Death Worm: A Puppet Show Musical on YouTube for free at

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