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Australian playwright Hilary Bell’s The Splinter is a psychological thriller about child abduction, realised in a visually rich, image-based production. Five-year-old Laura has been missing for nine months and has returned to her parents, but now she’s changed; she looks different, behaves strangely and refuses to speak. Sydney Theatre Company resident Julia Ohannessian, a performer and manipulator in the production, says that what’s particular interesting about The Splinter is the use of puppetry, especially the puppet that represents the little girl. Based on the folklore creature ‘the changeling’, and inspired by Henry James novel The Turn of the Screw, the Hans Christian Andersen tale The Snow Queen and real life stories of abducted children, this new work is an emotional thriller about all consuming obsession, grief, childhood and identity.

Apr 10-Sep 15, Wharf Theatre, Pier 4, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay, $35-79, 9250 1777, sydneytheatre.com.au