Sep 23, 2009

Brisbane Festival: Stick Stones Broken Bones

Shadow puppetry is always engaging to watch, but it turns out looking at how the projections are made is equally as fascinating. Stick Stones Broken Bones is a Canadian one-man show that captivates you with the reality of puppetry, before charming you with the fantasy. It's a delight for all ages, and another stand-out of The Carnival's Edge program.

The puppet master enters the stage in a low-key way, but soon bewitches the audience with his childlike vocal mannerisms. He speaks in sounds and emotions, not words - when he speaks at all. Onstage is a clothesline draped with bits of clothing and other props. Over the course of 45 minutes, these are removed and fashioned into objects that look bizarre and unwieldy - until the projector's flicked on and the shadows jump into the light.

A doctor carries out a brain transplant, monkeys fight a UFO, and a jockey battles to get his steed through a horserace. In perhaps the show's most demanding sequence, the puppet master uses all four limbs to convey the image of an elderly couple playing chess. It's a mesmerising display of physical theatre that is genuinely heart-warming.

Children in particular will be delighted by this show, but I daresay grown-ups will find grins spreading across their faces too. Stick Stones Broken Bones plays every day at 5:45pm. All tickets $16.


  1. I've got to stop reading these posts: they make me wish I was in Brisbane, able to see all these great shows. :(

  2. It's one of the reasons I wanted to write reviews, Peter - to encourage people who ARE in Brisbane to get out and see shows.

    I often hear people complain of having nothing to do; or bemoaning the lack of entertainment options in Brisbane - now here we have truly world-class performers who are fixtures on festival circuits all over the world. It's a great opportunity to see them!

    (Sorry, don't mean to rub it in!)

  3. I am seeing this and some others at the festival. I just wish that they had festival passes or a multiple show style deal so that I could see more that is on. Under the Radar has the right idea with a 5 for $50 deal.

    Nice reviews there GC......