Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, The Edge, Auckland

29/04/2014 - 03/05/2014

NZ International Comedy Festival 2014

Production Details

Come play in the dark!


Shadow puppetry has never been this much fun. Sticks Stones Broken Bones is a weird and wonderful shadow puppet adventure perfect for kids and adults, all the way from Montreal.

Created and performed by Jeff Achtem who, as his alter ego Mr Bunk, recycles household junk to create flying chickens, brain transplants, racing horses and ninjas at breakneck speed.

The laughs began within seconds of the show starting and didn’t stop until the end of this crazy puppet show – The Independent Weekly, Adelaide

Mr Bunk, puppeteer extraordinaire creates hilarious shadow puppet melodramas out of bits and bobs you’ll find in any household. Transforming it into surreal shadow puppets in hilarious live cartoons.

Your imagination will race to catch up with Achtem’s creations as the next shadow springs to life.

Like a Pixar film, people of all ages are sure to get something out of this show and escape for one hour to a world of simple silliness and pure joy – Adelaide Advertiser

With a plethora of awards and accolades this hilarious and surreal show has travelled the globe and comes to us direct from Adelaide Fringe in 2014.

Winner, Best Newcomer Edinburgh Fringe 2010, ***** Fest Magazine Edinburgh, Best Show – Perth

Fringe 2012, Spirit of the Fringe- Edinburgh Fringe 2010, Total Theatre Award shortlist – Edinburgh

Fringe 2010, Best Puppet Show – Adelaide Fringe 2011, Sell out show- Edinburgh Fringe 2010.

One of the most spellbinding moments of puppet theatre I have ever encountered – The Stage, UK

A feast for the imagination, Jeff Achtem’s Mr Bunk will inspire and excite adults and children aged 7+ with a show that takes the simplest of forms to the far corners of your imagination.

Filled with quirks and filled with beauty, it takes the simplest form of entertainment, and lifts it to the most unexpected of heights – Fringe

Sticks Stones Broken Bones is a hilarious comedy, filled with absurd life like cartoon characters made in front of your eyes using sound effects and buckets loads of imagination. Come and play in the dark.

Running time: 60 mins.

Sticks, Stones, Broken Bones
Tuesday 29 April – Saturday 3 May,
11.00am and 6.30pm,
Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre.

Tickets are Adults $25.00, Children $20.00 (12 years or under), Family $65.00 (Family, 1 adult and 3 children OR 2 adults and 2 children).

Tickets from Ticketmaster. Buy tickets at or by calling (09) 970 9700 / 0800 111 999. Tickets can be booked in person by visiting theBruce Mason Centre Box Office or the Aotea Centre Box Office in Auckland CBD.

For media enquiries or more information please contact Alex Ellis publicist on 0275026542 or


Canadian-born performer Jeff Achtem creates shadow puppet adventures out of bits of rubbish and household objects. His one man shows Sticks Stones Broken Bones, Swamp Juice and Slapdash Galaxy bring an imaginative twist to shadow puppetry, using audience interactions and a playful approach to clowning and visual storytelling. A versatile performer, he has played to sell out audiences across the globe: Off-Broadway in N.Y.C, cabaret theatres in Berlin, London’s West-End, in cultural palaces in Sharjah UAE, and on large sold-out stages at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Jeff is a Canadian citizen, living and working out of Melbourne Australia.


Clown ……………… Master class resident, Michel Dallaire. Hangar des Mines, France. 2007.

Pantomime……….. Physical workshop with Cirque de Soleil veteran, Rene Bazinet, Clown, movement theory, pantomime, neutral mask. Montréal. 2006.

Puppetry……………. Master classes: Neville Tranter (Holland), I Made Sidia (Indonesia), Norbert Gotz (Germany), Stéphane Grégois (Belgium).


Sensational experience

Review by Nik Smythe 29th Apr 2014

Direct from Montreal (unless he’s toured elsewhere in between), master shadow puppeteer Jeff Achtem is in Auckland this week to show off his remarkable talents to enthusiastic audiences of all ages. 

Quite simply, there is nothing to not love about this show.  From Jeff’s doddery, oddball Mr. Bean-meets-Swedish Chef persona, to the surprising and enchanting shadow-plays themselves, the underlying principle (and closing remark) is that no matter how big you get, there is always time to play.

The short scenes are primarily character-based, focussed on the charming, slightly grotesque beings in close-up or midshot, with only one example of a more wide-shot landscape type scenario.  Subject matter includes brain surgery, a martial arts death match and a horseriding steeplechase, among others.  Whether already familiar or not with the potential delights of shadow puppetry, you will undoubtedly marvel at the degree of ingenuity literally on display.

I say ‘literally’ in reference to this production’s main point of difference:  before each piece we are privy to the construction of the strange looking contraptions built from toys, tape and various other bits and bobs lying around.  Some are built from scratch, with occasional assistance from the audience; others are necessarily prefabricated to a degree. 

In any (and every) case, audible gasps ensue when the jumbled clumps of bric-a-brac are backlit to produce another eye-popping living cartoon silhouette on the rough-edged screen.  Slick, distinctive vocal characterisations are the icing on the cake. 

The format echoes the cheeky brilliance of The Boy With Tape on His Face, albeit with some limited use of comical clown-like speech.  Also like Tapeboy, a well-appointed synchronised soundtrack enhances to the whole sensational experience.

I wonder how many parents genuinely question their chosen career path when, lying back on a packing case, about to start the ingenious chess-playing spouse’s routine, with both arms and legs holding up not one but two puppets, Jeff turns his head to us to enquire, “So what do you do for a living? …Borinnng!”


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