Pictured: James Pratt and Christian Bagin (Photographer: Andrew Wuttke)

The 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival has returned to present a unique show by local award-winning outfit Bunk Puppets, in their new production – Stark and Dormy. Creating the ultimate dark comedy featuring puppetry, sketch comedy and lo-fi effects, the show tells the story of Fox’s Family Park, a struggling theme park.

Part sci-fi spoof and part social satire, master storytellers Bunk Puppets use a blend of their trademark puppetry and comedic expertise to create an entertaining universe steeped in imagination and creativity, all duly covered in a good dose of dark wit.

“With Stark and Dormy, we set out with the approach that this was two film nerds that were trying their darnedest to make a live, scary, mystery sci-fi movie. For audiences that might not have heard about Bunk Puppets and what we peddle, our puppets are more like South Park meets Game of Thrones.”

Based in Melbourne, Bunk Puppets are a multi-award winning company creating cutting edge shadow puppet theatre. Established in 2010, they have traversed the globe and built an outstanding international reputation with their absurdist visual stories.


Stark and Dormy, the show that comes to life with this mash-up tale by Bunk Puppets. With an unassuming puppet stage, we are privy to the workings of these puppet masters, storytellers and tricksters. Two shadow stages highlight their approach to this show, as we are taken on a journey with our own imagination and become part of this story. The story thickens as it revolves around an animal funpark - the owner and a daughter’s relationship with her dad - while they try to run and save ‘Fox’s Family Fun Park’.

A fast-paced story with roller-coaster mishaps and adventures, it has the goriest of puppetry by writers and puppeteers Jeff Achtem, James Pratt and Christian Bagin. We, the audience are put into scenes with French restaurants, theme park attendants and involved in a scary tale of a gruesome idea to keep a fun park afloat, before it all comes a foot in the finale.

This humble set of shadowy puppetry or cinema in silhouette does not need more to bring these characters into fruition. Great thought has been put into this show, including a gorilla, a naughty scene in a restaurant with an alien gorilla and ping pong balls thrown into the crowd, all of which makes you want to give a hand, as you become interactive in this great fun story.

Just when you thought you saw it all with this humble stage set, you are sent into a live 3D romp with whirling imagery created by mere shadow puppetry and sounds. These 3D images transport you and your imagination, to what you always knew you had in yourself.

Rating: 4/5 stars


Dates: 28 March – 21 April, 2019

Location: The Coopers Malthouse (The Tower) – 113 Sturt St, Southbank Times: Tues – Sat 6:45pm, Sun 5:45pm Cost: $28 Full, $25 Concession

Malthouse Theatre Website

Comedy Festival Website