Don’t underestimate the calibre of regional art tours. The audiences may be small and the venues poky, but the entertainment can be world-class.

Tonight we stopped at the civic hall in Ulverstone to watch Canadian Jeff Achtrem’s shadow puppetry act. Sticks, Stones, Broken Bones is almost wordless, and Achtrem’s theatrical style extends to dressing himself with the props and using volunteers to enhance his act.

Jeff Achtem's Sticks, Stones and Broken Bones shadow puppetry show, Ulverstone, Tasmania, January 2013
Achtem calls this technique "puppet yoga" as he uses his hands and feet to create a chess match on the screen.

Achtrem’s creations are fashioned with homemade props that look like they came home as a kindergarten project. His very expressive face and shameless way of playing with his audience for extra laughs and cheers entertain us while he changes his stage and dresses up before the next act.

Calista and Aisha laughing as they watch Jeff Achtem's Sticks, Stones and Broken Bones shadow puppetry show, Ulverstone, Tasmania, January 2013
Our girls giggle at Achtem's antics on stage.

Jeff Achtem's Sticks, Stones and Broken Bones shadow puppetry show, Ulverstone, Tasmania, January 2013
The grand finale is enhanced with bubbles.

My sole disappointment with Achtrem’s show was at the size of the audience. Only thirty people watched the performance — despite it being widely advertised — and I wish so many more people had taken advantage of the entertainment on offer in this part of the island.

There’s one more performance of Sticks, Stones, Broken Bones here in Tasmania, at Port Sorell Memorial Hall on Friday 25 January at 7.30. Then Achtrem’s tour is taking him to the mainland of Australia. You can find all his tour dates here.