Tim Watts, creator and sole performer in The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik, brings an incredible story to life through a mind-blowingly creative use of animation, puppetry, song and acting. The result is a truly bewitching show that you must go and see.
Alvin lives in a dark world battered by pollution and global warming; sea levels have risen so much that very few people are left alive, survivors inhabiting spindly buildings on top of skyscrapers. This is represented through a moving sequence of projected cartoons that give a chilling sense of desolation and despair. When Alvin’s wife dies, he is left alone and heartbroken. With nothing to lose, he volunteers to set off on a quest in search of a new world under the sea to save humanity.
The sheer range of media used to tell this spellbinding tale is an enthralling feature of the show in itself. The action moves seamlessly between pictures on the central projection screen, ingenious puppets and ukulele narration to name but a few mediums. The timing is always perfect and it is amazing to watch just how lifelike Watts can make his glove puppet Alvin appear. The venue is fairly large but he has every audience member mesmerized at the flick of his wrist. There are actually barely any spoken words in the whole performance but you really wouldn’t notice, the actions and representations are so emotive you will be entranced. The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik is absolutely magical.
The performance embodies hard-hitting themes with a wonderful poignancy. Alvin is followed intermittently by his wife’s spirit; the portrayal makes you feel as though the play itself has a real soul. Loss, grief and hope are all personified in an incredibly accessible way. The deeper undercurrents are also neatly counterbalanced by a light comic touch. Puppet Alvin is often humorous to watch, especially when he encounters a disco ball under the sea. Watts weaves a beautiful simplicity through his act which means that small children will be able to engage with this just as much as the adults in the audience.
Essentially, The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik has a resplendent charm which will appeal to everyone and anyone. A ticket will plunge you into a disarmingly surreal new world and leave you moved, amused and heart-warmed.