fringe: bunk puppets - swamp juice

swamp juiceOur Fringe journey came to an end tonight with Swamp Juice by Bunk Puppets...

It's very much a show aimed at kids, there's nothing "adult" or risqué about it... there are a couple of fart jokes, but kids love those. But perhaps not for the under 5's as there are a couple of scary moments and one of the kids tonight did get a little freaked out at one stage.

I would have to say that it's a very "non-traditional" shadow puppet show, if only because Jeff Achtem, the puppeteer, is completely visible the whole time (totally in character), as are the puppets and you can see everything that he's doing and how he makes the puppets do what they do. It's all decidedly homemade and not refined in any way, but still manages to give a great result on screen.

He also has this great rig that allows him to switch between three different "sets"... kind of the shadow puppet equivalent of close up, medium and long shots I guess.

And it's the first time that the ever present and completely annoying locust/cricket/fugly bugs that have infiltrated every single show that I've seen in The Garden of Unearthly Delights have become part of the show... and was one of the funniest parts of the show (whether it's something he's done all through the run or whether it was just tonight I don't know).

The story is very simple, which is fine... although I'm not sure some of the stuff at the beginning really follows through to the end, which it felt like it could have done.

My only real complaint though is that the music/sound effects track often drowned out the sound of Achtem, meaning that some of his funnier lines were missed.

However the finale more than makes up for it, and is something that I totally didn't expect to work as well as it did (I'd say what happened, but Achtem asked us not to tell... it's a surprise!).

All in all though, a nice way to round out our Fringe experience.

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