Returning to Edinburgh after a six year hiatus, Bunk Puppets’
A masterful attention to detail that conveys great emotional depth
The show consists of a series of short episodes featuring a variety of endearing characters, each prefaced with a short preparatory section. Tim Sneddon is slightly reminiscent of a talkative Mr Bean as he bumbles around stage collecting props to use as puppets, eliciting many laughs. Objects come from a variety of places, from the washing line strung artistically across the stage to the personal belongings of audience members, always forming an assortment of strange and unexpected materials from which he sometimes builds the puppet before our eyes. Managing to keep the attention of the many children in the audience during these intervals, Sneddon is impressively engaging as he goes about his business, reeling forth a pleasing stream of gibberish that seems almost intelligible and accompanied by a fun and varied soundtrack.
The technical skill that goes into both the creation and the performance of the puppetry is excellent. When each tableaux is finally set up, it is a surprise to see what will be revealed on the screen, always with a masterful attention to detail that conveys great emotional depth. An especially memorable scene depicts a race in which both horse and rider play their part in reaching the finish line. It is mesmerising, for both adults and children, to witness the shadow puppets’ adventures on the screen alongside Sneddon’s omnidextrous contortions.
But while the show’s cleverness and skill are impressive, it is ultimately the sweetness of its message that gives it the power to entrance audiences of all ages. Romping with elated abandon through its every moment, Sticks Stones Broken Bones is moving and funny as it reminds us that we will never be too old to play. Its final few minutes could leave you laughing or crying - but either way you will be glad you were there.