Laughing Horse @ The Newsroom (Venue 93), Edinburgh, Scotland

06/08/2016 - 28/08/2016

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

27/02/2013 - 02/03/2013

BATS Theatre, Pit Bar, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

22/02/2012 - 25/02/2012

Le Tigre Tent – Busker Park, Christchurch

14/01/2016 - 23/01/2016

Inch Bar, 8 Bank St, Northeast Valley, Dunedin

13/03/2014 - 16/03/2014


Dunedin Fringe 2014

NZ Fringe Festival 2012

Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Auckland Fringe 2013

Production Details


Killing time between theatre shows? Watch a scene. Killing a night? Come to three. Pulp aficionado? Come every night for a week and get the whole film! Puppet Fiction – it’s Pulp Fiction with some strings attached – PUPPET STRINGS! 

Venue:  The Pit Bar at BATS Theatre 

Performance Dates:  Wed 22 Feb – Sat 25 Feb 2012 
Wed 29 Feb to Sat 3 March 
Three times a night: 6.45pm, 8.15pm and 9.45pm. 
Prices:  koha  



After two extremely successful sell-out seasons in Wellington, Present Company are proud to bring the ultimate Tarantino homage Puppet Fiction to the Basement Theatre from 27 February to 2 March for the Auckland Fringe Festival in 2013!

Pulp Fiction was an instant cult classic. A genre-busting and seven time Oscar nominated film about the lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster’s wife, and a pair of diner bandits as they intertwined in four tales of violence and redemption.

Puppet Fiction was also an instant hit playing homage to the mighty film, with 40cm tall replicates of the main characters. They performed 35 shows over 3 weeks of the NZ Fringe Festival in Wellington to packed houses and took out the award for Best Performance Design with a runner up to Best New Concept then went on to pack out houses for another 12 shows in the middle of winter.

Obviously the concept of puppets dealing with, and dealing out such violence, humour, love, lust, drugs, signs from God, heavy and eccentric dialogue is enthralling, curious and automatically hilarious; adding to the experience is the joy of live puppetry; a stuck jaw, awkward effects, the tangle of strings during a love scene. The cast of three, led by amazing puppeteer Jon Coddington and rounded out with the talents of Anya Tate-Manning and renown comedian James Nokise, will triumph over every pending disaster while portraying all of your favourite characters, under the direction of Hannah Clarke.

“The tight team work hard beneath their relaxed exteriors. It’s a big and arguably insane task they have taken on” – John Smythe, Theatreview.

The film has been broken down into the main storylines and each night one 40 minute slice of the film will be played out in its own way. Come for one show and a good giggle while you remember what is was that made this film so great, or for the real Pulp aficionados come along every night to see the whole film weave together.

“A barkingly implausible, bat-shit crazy late night cult piece of weird.” – Geoff Pinfield

Auckland Fringe runs from 15 February to 10 March 2013. For more Auckland Fringe information go to www.aucklandfringe.co.nz  

27th, 28th February, 1st and 2nd March 2013, 10pm
Duration: 40mins
Venue: The Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Avenue, Auckland CBD
Tickets: It’s a koha show, and Pumpkin and Honey Bunny want to see what you’ve got in your wallet!

Come once and see a story, come three times and see the whole film.
“A barkingly implausible, bat-shit crazy late night cult piece of weird.”

“I cannot commend this puppet show too highly. It is an utterly unique and singular theatrical experience so smartly and endearingly executed you wonder why no one had thought of it sooner. It succeeds brilliantly on a number of levels…. Go see it if you get the chance. Get a front row seat. This is an intimate show and being splashed with performers sweat is part of the charm.” – TOM SCOTT

“A barkingly implausible, bat-shit crazy late night cult piece of weird. Never before have I seen such fear and loathing done so well on such an epic miniature scale.” – GEOFF PINFEILD

“The tight team works hard beneath their relaxed exteriors.  It’s a big and arguably insane task they have taken on.  But this is a homage to a cult classic that made a big impression… and judging by the packed Pit Bar (with many turned away), there are plenty of punters… who share their nostalgic passion.” – JOHN SMYTHE THEATREVIEW 


Dates: March 13, 14, 15, 16 
Venue:  Inch Bar 
7:00pm, 8:30pm & 10:00pm (13, 14, 15)
Puppet Fiction marathon 5:00pm – 6:30pm (16)
Duration: 40 min
Online Tickets: Donation / Koha
Door Sales: Donation / Koha 

Scirt World Buskers Festival 2016

A cult hit in Edinburgh, Perth, Adelaide and Wellington, Jon Coddington’s creation comes to Christchurch for the first time. Playing in three episodes, come once for a slice, three times for the whole pie, or to see the whole motherf*cking thing at once come to the marathon show on Saturday 23rd January!

“The tight team work hard beneath their relaxed exteriors. It’s a big and arguably insane task they have taken on” – Theatreview NZ

Le Tigre Bleu, Busker Park
Part One:  Thur 14 Jan, Sun 17 Jan, Wed 20 Jan
Part Two:  Fri 15 Jan, Mon 18 Jan, Thur 21 Jan
Part Three:  Sat 16 Jan, Tue 19 Jan, Fri 22 Jan
Full Trilogy:  Sat 23 Jan 

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016  
Laughing Horse @ The Newsroom (Venue 93)
Aug 6-7, 9-14, 16-21, 23-28
12 noon
50 minutes
Suitability: 12+ (Guideline)  
Book here

Theatre , Puppetry ,

50 mins

An inventive, kitsch and heart-felt honouring

Review by Naomi van den Broek 23rd Jan 2016

Puppet Fiction seems like the perfect cult homage to a film director who has throughout his career so often paid tribute to the various genres that have influenced him.

One wonders what night of drunken derangement led Jon Coddington, James Nokise and Anya Tate-Manning to decide to stage a puppet show of Pulp Fiction?  But whatever the circumstance, very few of the audience that attended tonight’s performance would argue that it wasn’t a worthy moment of imbibing-based inspiration.*

The puppets are extraordinary. Coddington has done an exceptional job of realising the iconic actors / roles as marionettes. Great opportunities for riffing arise (and are fully realised by the talented cast) when guns are blue-tacked into marionette hands, when puppets try to kiss, and when strings become tangled in action sequences. And if you’ve ever wanted to see a puppet perform cunnilingus this is a bucket list moment. 

There is also much delight in the attention (and sometimes intentional lack thereof) to props and set items. My absolute favourite moment of the night is the ‘motorbike’ that Butch and Fabienne ride off on. There is also something charming and delightfully low fi about the use of slides of Christchurch streets and buildings for the backdrops, never more so that when a Virus Update Notification pops up on the screen.

Coddington, Nokise and Tate-Manning manage the technical, theatrical and comedic elements of the performance without seeming to even break a sweat in the stifling tent, and Coddington’s Captain Koons (Christopher Walken) is a particular highlight.

Given that the season is played in episodes (we see Episode 3; there is a marathon of all three tonight – Saturday) we don’t get to see all of the characters or iconic moments of the film. But we were invited to ‘recite along’ with the infamous Ezekiel speech delivered by Jules who tells us, “This was a very popular passage from the mid to late 90s, an Oscar nomination passage, from when they used to nominate black people.” As Jules (pitched perfectly by Nokise) delivers the speech, many mouths of die-hard Pulp Fiction fans move along in unison. 

The real delight in Puppet Fiction is when things go off book. The three players have an excellent rhythm with each other, and use these moments to provide those types of experience that we know only tonight’s audience get to see. They draw the audience in to their bizarre and quirky world with warmth and generosity. I sincerely hope that Tarantino answers their invitation and attends tonight’s full length performance. What auteur wouldn’t want to see such an inventive, kitsch and heart-felt honouring of their work?

*Assumption only on part of reviewer. This in no way should cast aspersions on the drinking habits or mental state of the cast of Puppet Fiction.


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A knock-out

Review by Terry MacTavish 14th Mar 2014

Glory be, Fringe is yet again filling, with its special magic, the most unexpected Dunedin venues, from the sublime to the ridiculous: the Festival Gala launching impressively with Film Noir trappings in the huge Town Hall, while next night I find myself squeezed into intimate contact with lovely strangers in the unbelievably teeny but twinkly Inch Bar.    

It is the perfect spot for this delicious cult show of a cult show: the tiny but perfectly formed puppets prance on a tiny stage with tiny props, and we are right there to help the brilliant human-sized operators when things fall apart. Sometimes literally. But even losing a foot simply provides James Nokise, as Vincent, with the opportunity for wickedly funny ad-libs, or at the least a “Thank you, Hand of God” as a prop is handed up by a grinning punter crouched beneath him.  

And this is the chief delight of Puppet Fiction.  It is a cute idea to have the violent cult classic enacted by puppets, but it is the verbal dexterity of the puppet masters that keeps us in a ripple of amusement, creating a hilarious party atmosphere. The odd slow patch is forgiven when the character is grumbling, “The trouble with this section is, I have no jokes… told you you should have hired De Niro!… We’ll just stand here in awkward silence…” 

The actor/operators are in impeccable, nonchalant control, and the audience adores them.  Nokise is brilliant, but Anya Tate-Manning and Jon Coddington are also delightfully relaxed yet quick-thinking, and it is their handling of the fluffs that inspires the increasing hilarity of the crowded bar. 

The puppets themselves, created by Coddington, are gorgeous: clever caricatures of faces with the best noses ever, and jointed arms with splayed fingers that are marvellously expressive. The set is a television screen, which means that when we move from the diner to a collapsible cardboard car (“We’re really shit at building cars – this is why they don’t let us do children’s theatre. I’m steering with my dick!”) it is our own Dunedin we recognise rushing past the window. 

The gruesome humour of the movie is recreated with relish, the audience is viciously threatened (“I’ll execute every one of you mother-fuckers – this is not a drill!” snarls sweet Tate-Manning), but the black comedy of Pulp Fiction translates irresistibly to puppets.  Well, they’ve been making us laugh at violence since Punch and Judy, after all. 

On a nearby floor cushion I see a friend, a caring tender-hearted teacher of children with learning disabilities, who surprisingly turns out to be a rabid Pulp Fiction fan. She is loving this so much she is aggressively determined to stay for the following two performances, which complete the story: rapes, heroin overdoses and all. 

I suggest you too menace your way up the queue outside the Inch Bar to see at least one show.  You won’t be disappointed.  If you’re lucky you’ll catch gems like this:  “I’ve screwed up the lines – still getting images of stewardesses from the riff we did earlier…”  A knock-out.


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Has cult smash written all over it

Review by Hannah Smith 28th Feb 2013

“Everybody be cool, this is a puppet show.”  Puppet Fiction is one of those ridiculous but brilliant ideas: bringing the cult film to the stage in marionette form. To quote the blurb, the concept is “bat-shit crazy,” but Pulp Fiction is a classic, and anyone who enjoyed it (and seriously, who doesn’t) will find this show rewarding. 

The puppets are incredible – lovingly made, well-observed, and with loads of character, even in repose.  Jon Coddington is a gifted artist and a craftsman – and his John Travolta impersonation is totally credible, too. The action is performed in front of a TV screen; convenient for displaying the credits and showing a few scene changes, and behind which a bit of stage management happens. 

The cast are strong, sweating their way through tricksy bits and taking the inevitable mistakes in their stride. James Nokise particularly shines, especially as he is the quickest with his adlibs and off the cuff witticisms. 

The game of the show lies in watching the puppeteers struggle; eating, kissing, shooting up: these are all tricky things to do with a 30cm tall marionette.  But the limitations and off-the-cuff responses to it are half of the humour.  The rest comes from that excellent script. 

I walked away from this show hungry to watch Pulp Fiction again.  In Auckland they are performing the movie in segments, so you’ll have to keep coming back if you want to see all your favourite parts.

And in terms of seeing everything, the puppets are small so get in quick to get a seat front and centre – otherwise there will be stuff you miss. This show has cult smash written all over it. They are heading off to Adelaide next, where I expect them to be a hit.  Get in now and check it out.


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Punters aplenty share passion for Pulp

Review by John Smythe 24th Feb 2012

“Don’t expect to see a remake of Pulp Fiction,” director Hannah K Clarke cautions in her programme note. “It’s not plagurism [sic], it’s homage!”

Wedged into a corner of Bats Theatre’s tiny Pit Bar, bursting-with-punters, she operates the laptop that throws up titles, credits and location backdrops on the large flat screen that separates the puppeteers from the table top on which their string puppets perform.

Lovingly crafted by Jon Coddington, who is joined by James Nokise and Anya Tate-Manning, the superb puppets are instantly recognisable as Travolta, Jackson, et al. The tiny props are brilliant too.

When Tate-Manning’s Honey Bunny delivers a prologue debating whether it’s worth holding up (as in ribbing) this theatre bar with gags about Marty (Bats’ programme manager) and Chris (Bats’ business manager), I think for a moment we’re in for a full-on Kiwi parody. But no, it quickly reverts to the stock schlock – and hey, it wouldn’t be ‘pulp’ otherwise, would it?

At 6.45 on Thursday we get the first of ‘The Bonnie Situation’s 3 parts. [This week and next week, 3 stories play out in 3 parts on Wed (‘The Gold Watch’), Thurs (‘The Bonnie Situation’), Fri (Marcellus Wallis’ Wife) and Sat is a mash up of highlights and requests.]

Coddington plays it relatively straight as Vincent while Nokise ad-libs so well as Jules (e.g. when a leg won’t move, “I think I got a dead leg from the car ride”), that you want more things to go ‘wrong’. Tate-Manning fills in all the other roles with alacrity.

Plush pink bench-seats set the diner, then, encased in a box, create the car, then furnish the apartment where Vincent and Jules may or may not be saved by a miracle.

Aficionados await the accidental shooting of Marvin in the car with high anticipation and are not disappointed. Somehow the awkwardness of some of the ‘effects’ just adds to the fun.

The tight team works hard beneath their relaxed exteriors.  It’s a big and arguably insane task they have taken on.  But this is a homage to a cult classic that made a big impression in their teens, while creating a seismic shift in Hollywood values, and judging by the packed Pit Bar (with many turned away), there are plenty of punters of their generation and others who share their nostalgic passion. 

Get there early (it’s a koha/donation show, so no bookings.)


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