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Sticks, Stones and Broken Bones
Published on Wednesday, 22 June 2011
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Udderbelly's Pasture (venue website)
Theatre
15 Aug, 2:20pm-3:10pm; 16 Aug, 6:30pm-7:20pm

 Family-friendly. Suitable for all ages.

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It was one of the sleeper hits of 2010’s Fringe; it enthralled small children, and reduced strong men to tears.  Filled with quirks and filled with beauty, it takes the simplest form of entertainment, and lifts it to the most unexpected of heights.  It’s shadow-puppetry, but not as we know it… and it’s back for just two shows.

Standing, crouching or occasionally lying in front of a bright light, Montreal man Jeff Achtem uses the detritus of modern life to summon silhouettes to the screen.  A brush turns into hair, a bent shoe becomes a leg.  But this is no kindergarten shadow-play; the richness of the imagery is magical, and Achtem’s creativity seems to have no end.  There are short narrative sketches to link it all, but for much of the time it’s just one creation after another, and the delight’s encapsulated in that famous question – “Do you know what it is yet?”

Achtem never speaks, but still adds plenty of personality to his show, with a child-like sense of experiment and some well-judged physical clowning.  Using his whole body to construct the more intricate pieces, it’s a low-key, charming performance, which slowly works its way into your mind.  This show sold out in 2010, and it’s on just twice – so if you missed it last time, do book early.

Sticks, Stones and Broken Bones returns for just two days, but Jeff Achtem's new family shadow-puppet show, Swamp Juice, is at the Underbelly for the whole of the Fringe.  4 - 28 Aug (not 15), 2:00pm (3:00pm).

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