Swamp Juice

Actor in costume for Swamp Juice theatre show
Photograph: Andrew Wuttke

Melbourne-based company Bunk Puppets are bringing their award-winning production to Sydney

Bunk Puppets have garnered worldwide reputation for their imaginative visual theatre productions, which use shadow puppets made entirely from rubbish and household objects. This summer, they’re making their Sydney debut at Monkey Baa Theatre Company with their adventurous show Swamp Juice.  

But be warned, this isn’t your average puppet performance. There’s very little singing or dancing and the show concludes with a live 3D-performance, which requires audience members to wear special glasses. It’s recommended for those aged seven and up but according to the creator and performer of the show it really is a show for everyone.

“I’m a bit sick of seeing puppets just sing and dance,” says Jeff Achtem, the show’s solo performer and creator. “I’m much more interested in breathing life [into the puppets] and creating engagement with the characters.”  

The tale of Swamp Juice is simple – it’s the story of a man’s adventure through a swamp. His journey leads him to numerous encounters with the animals that live there, from bickering snails and a neurotic snake to an opera singing mouse. 

The puppets have been created entirely from found objects including household mops, scarves and bicycle parts. Achtem says he wants to “put something in front of people that can be easily recognised,” and “blow the lid off” the audience’s preconceptions of puppetry.

“Puppetry gets a bit of a bad wrap,” he says. “It’s a real challenge to work in an art form in which  people already have perceptions, not to mention, convincing them to come in the first place.”

Achtem hopes that with Swamp Juice he has created a show that is “just so drop dead exciting” that theatregoers keep coming again and again.

By: Rebecca Zhuang

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