The Garden Of Unearthly Delights’ Umbrella Revolution, Mon Mar 9
Imagine a man who defied the imperative to become an adult, who decided that play mattered more than being serious, grown up, mature… a man who spends his days creating shadow puppets and mini narratives with which to tell their stories. Jeff Achtem is that man. His shadow puppets are ghoulish and grotesque at times, poignant and heart-warming at others, but through all this they retain a flicker of innocence and wonder.
Achtem cleverly integrates the behind-the-scenes set up of the narrative into the show: this allows the audience full access to the ‘how’, which lets them focus their attention on the ‘why’, facilitating full immersion in the miraculous little worlds he creates.
The show is earmarked for ages 7+, and it would certainly be suitable for some seven-year-olds, but there will be other seven-year-olds who will find its style unfamiliar. It’s more Coraline than Cinderella. It has a certain moodiness to it, and while it never delves into truly adult themes or pushes into anything strictly more than PG territory, there is also something – perhaps a depth, perhaps a darkness – that will make it less accessible to children who are used to the bedazzling brightness of Disney and Barbie.
All the more reason to take them to see it.
That said, it is never cynical and it retains a wonderful humour and light touch that reaches its pinnacle at the end, where Achtem’s message combines perfectly with a light and bubble show that remind us that sometimes the most beautiful things are the simplest. It is this idea, and the message that Achtem accompanies it with (a message that I won’t share here, you will have to see the show for that!) that make Sticks Stones Broken Bones a truly memorable, uplifting and enlightening experience.
Sticks Stones Broken Bones continues at The Garden Of Unearthly Delights’ Umbrella Revolution until Sun Mar 15.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.