There is something so infinitely wonderful about puppetry. Something so lifelike, yet so unreal, to the point of adopting a hypnotic, even magical, quality that bewilders and fascinates children and adults alike.
The Girl With No Heart is all about magic and wonder. The sweetness, curiosity, imagination and soul of youth are perfectly captured in the shape of beautiful shadow play and curious creatures from other worlds.
A child’s curiosity leads her to a world of paper and war. Taken under the wing of a couple of natives, they head to a city where they shelter from an oncoming darkness. But nobody’s heart is safe in this world. Not even the most pure and strong.
You don’t so much watch The Girl With No Heart as immerse yourself in it. The dream-like quality of the experience sucks you into an entire new reality, which you observe and investigate with complete belief despite its fantastical nature.
There are small patches where the dream starts to drift into a casual snooze and the imagination begins to filter back into the surrounding reality, but this is all quite fleeting and only remotely traceable. The charm and humour quickly recaptures your attention and banishes such banal truths back to the world beyond the theatre, where they belong.
Performances are all fantastically strong and dedicated, composed by live music that is stripped back, yet deeply moving. The puppets actually remind me slightly of those in Jim Henson’s 1982 movie, Dark Crystal, in the sense that there is an undeniable air of terror to them, yet also an endearing humanity which gives the story its true beating heart.
For what the show does have above all is fierce, true heart. And that alone, as our sweet protagonist demonstrates, will get you places far beyond your wildest hopes.
A gem of a show.
Event: 25 Aug 2012