Posts Tagged ‘Edinburgh Festival Fringe’

08/09/11

I don’t normally review shows that I see at my place of work due to previously stepping on a few toes with an ill-timed review, but as this show has now, sadly, left our studio for greener pastures, I simply could not contain myself any longer. I must tell you about this show.

The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer has won critical praise around the world, most recently in Edinburgh when it was a complete sell-out. Try as I might, I couldn’t get tickets for it – I am reliably informed that one intrepid theatre-goer even attempted bribery in an attempt to get in to see the last show, to no avail. And it is fresh from this success that Alvin Sputnik arrived in the Burton Taylor Studio. 

One-man storyteller Tim Watts tells the tale of a post-apocalyptic world. Nature’s “Menopausal rage” has melted the ice caps, and only a few humans remain on earth, living atop skyscrapers to escape the rising ocean. Alvin Sputnik lives a quiet life with his wife, Elena, until she passes away in his arms. Alvin, with nothing left to lose and nothing to live for, decides to dive to the bottom of the ocean to search for her soul.

Watt’s has created theatrical magic here. Alvin is a triumph in puppetry – ingeniously portrayed by a white glove and a ball of foam. Watt’s breathes life into his creation (well…his hand.) in such a way that you just fall in love with Alvin. He is sweet, loving, kind and very very funny. Watt’s has also cleverly combined the live action scenes and puppetry with animation, music and film using a large circular screen with which he interacts throughout as Alvin explores the deep. The effect is completely original, and left the audience gasping in delight at times.

There is a child-like wonder to everything Watt’s has created; he is energetic, playful and charming, but also restrained when necessary. Nothing is overdone here, instead Watts allows the beautiful story to tell itself in a deceptively simple way. And that is the joy of this show – the story is funny, and heart-warming, but is also full of loss and grief, creating lots of lump-in-throat moments and some all-out heart-breakers. (I am particularly reminded of the sad and joyful cry of “I love you!” towards the end of the show.)

This show is worth every single word of praise it has already received; this is a show that kids will enjoy, but adults will probably enjoy more. To quote my boyfriend, who emerged from this show just as excited as I was, it’s almost impossibly sweet.  Wonderful, beautiful, heart-warming and tear jerking, Alvin is a story about quiet heroism and enduring love: is there anything more you could want from a trip to the theatre?

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