Half a String Theatre's new show is a delightfully charming and immaculately produced tale of triumph, travel and terrific adventure told through innovative puppetry and wonderfully lyrical song.
An immensely charming and almost magical show worth checking out at the festival this year.
The show focuses on a nameless boy growing up in the idyllic surroundings of a fishing village, situated on an island at the centre of a vast sea. When tragedy strikes however, the boy’s heart is lost to the waves, and he must journey to find it, facing wonderful and terrifying adventures all of the way.
What really hits you when watching the show is the sheer intricacy and beauty of the puppets and the sets. All of the backdrops and locations spring from a single wooden box which is manipulated and twisted throughout the show to become the various locals the boy encounters on his adventure. Director and co-performer Peter Morton has done as a dazzling job of crafting a collection of simple yet still stunning designs in his work, and seeing these backdrops and visuals seemingly spring up from nowhere is a wonder to watch. Morton too is an incredibly talented performer, demonstrating a mastery of manipulating his puppets to create fully rounded and human characters through even the most minute and small of movements.
Avi Simmons, the second performer, does a wonderful job providing the musical backdrop to the production, with a collection of beautiful folk songs that perfectly captures the almost dreamlike and at times storybook nature of the piece. With her vocals and music matched to the visuals of the sets and puppets, the show comes alive and draws you into the magical world it creates for the audience.
The one area the show stumbles in is the story, whilst initially the show does a good job of crafting a simple tale of loss and the quest to deal with grief, by the end it rather seems to lose the thread it started with and rather abruptly stops without really addressing the core theme it did such a brilliant job of setting up at the beginning.
Despite this A Heart at Sea is an immensely charming and almost magical show worth checking out at the festival this year.