City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer


By Justine Blundell - Posted on 10 May 2014

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Show Details
Venue: 
Traverse Theatre
Company: 
Weeping Spoon Productions with Perth Theatre
Production: 
Tim Watts (Creator), Arielle Gray (collaborator), Anthony Watts (set and gadget construction), Chris Isaacs (technical tour manager).
Performers: 
Shane Adamczak
Running time: 
45mins

The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer is a beautiful, melancholy tale of love and hope.

All the way from Australia, this one-man show has wowed audiences across the globe, picking up awards too numerous to mention along the way. Created by Tim Watts in 2009, the delight of this show lies in its surprises, mixing puppetry with live projection and animation, throwing in a few thumping disco tunes when you least expect them, and dealing out some fine live singing and a bit of mime for good measure.

We are in a post-apocalyptic world (albeit one that residents of Somerset and Cornwall will be able to strongly relate to) in which the earth has been swallowed by the sea, and the few survivors live on tiny outcrops on the top of skyscrapers and mountains. Attempts to salvage the situation have so far failed: building floating islands and turning the sea to ice were both unsuccessful, and sterling efforts to drink the seas dry resulted in an ‘epic fail’.

One last attempt to save the earth must be made by a hero who is willing to face almost certain death. Cue Alvin – bereft and lonely since the recent death of his wife, he is willing to take that chance. Alvin, dressed in full diving gear but with limited oxygen, plunges into the depths of the sea to find a new place for us to live, and has a few adventures along the way.

Most of the action was viewed through a round ‘window’: a circle drawn or projected onto a central cloth. Some of the drawings would suddenly come to life and this, together with some magically clever lighting, added depth and intrigue to the drama. Alvin himself was one of the few three-dimensional figures, yet it was some time before we realised that he was not a doll, but a brilliantly performing hand with a diver’s helmet on top!

Incorporating some wacky and witty voiced sound effects - and other equally unpredictable enhancements – it all added up to an enigmatic slice of theatrical beauty, humorously mournful and absolutely mesmerising for all ages.