The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer – Fringe

Alvin SputnikThe Arch, Holden Street Theatres, Holden Street, Hindmarsh

Reviewed Wednesday February 17th 2010 (See Fringe guide for dates, times, etc.)

Presented by Perth Theatre Company and Weeping Spoon Productions or 1300 FRINGE (374 643)

Bookings: Fringetix & Venuetix outlets

The end of the world is nigh, as seas have risen to the point where only a few people have managed to find places high enough to keep them above the waves. Gardens are being tended on the tops of skyscrapers built on the peaks of mountains. Human existence is facing annihilation. If this sounds familiar, it should.

Alvin Sputnik’s wife is terminally ill, and dies in his arms, leaving him devastated. He does not want to spend the rest of his life living alone and so he joins a group of people looking for a way to save what little is left of the human race. Many possible solutions have already been tried, and all have failed; some miserably, others catastrophically. There is, it seems, only one remote possibility, fraught with danger and with only the slimmest chance of success. It involves a search of the ocean bed, with danger both from the elements and the denizens of the deep.

Using a range of elements, including puppetry, projected computer generated cartoons, mime, recorded and live music and song, featuring the ukulele, live acting, and relying enormously on the skilful use of light, this is a thoroughly captivating performance by Tim Watts that is eminently suitable for people of any age. Although there is an ecological message to the production, the pill has a sugar coating in this fast paced, clever and often humorous performance.

Watts captivates the imagination in what has to be described, despite the stigma attached to the term, as a multi-media production. This production, however, combines a range of media in, for once, an integrated, homogenous performance. We have all seen far too much so-called multimedia work that loosely cobbles together a range of disparate technical elements and live performance that, mostly, is a jarring and unrewarding experience. Not so with this superbly crafted production.

There is a wonderfully executed approach to story telling, a tradition that goes back to the dawn of time and that, sadly, is almost lost in the spuriously perceived need for instant gratification and spectacle. Watts understands how to tell a story and capture the imagination in the process.

Make this one of your Fringe ‘must see’ events, and take friends and family.

Reviewed by Barry Lenny, GLAM Adelaide Arts Editor.

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