Puppeteer to perform with Elvis and MJ at Night Festival

He can make dolls come alive.

Mr Frankie Malachi is a professional puppeteer with more than 25 years' experience.

His company, Mascots and Puppets Specialists, has brought its puppet shows to countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Russia.

The 52-year-old will be performing at this year's Singapore Night Festival on Aug 28 and 29 at the field opposite The Cathay.

His show, Lost Vegas, is a resurrection of the great artists of the past, done with all the glitz and glamour synonymous with the US city.

Thirty puppets will be featured, including those of Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson - and yes, the hit song Thriller is on the cards.

Mr Malachi held various jobs before finding his calling as a puppeteer in the late 1980s.

He was inspired by Jim Henson, a US puppeteer famous for his work on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, as well as by Singaporean ventriloquist Victor Khoo, who died of cancer last year.

Mr Malachi said he was enthralled by the movements of the puppets and the intricacies of the craft.

Together with his wife and three friends, he performed his first puppet show at a little girl's birthday party, where his crew had a rough start.

"We were performing a three-minute song with hand puppets, and within the first 30 seconds our hands started cramping up!" he said.

He didn't starve

"My close friends and family thought that I was going to die of starvation as they did not think the company would take off."

But Mr Malachi's team have come a long way, and now make their own puppets at their MacPherson office.

He mainly produces two types of puppets - marionettes, which are controlled from above using wires; and hand puppets.

They can range from about 60cm to 4m in height.

His company makes puppets and costumes for events and performances, such as the 2006 hit musical 'Little Shop of Horrors', and the mascots Lyo and Merly for the Youth Olympic Games in 2010.

Mr Malachi has great ambitions for the future.

"I hope that we can open a puppet museum," he said.

"I also hope that we can open a puppet theatre, to revive this dying art."

This article was first published on August 16, 2015.
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