The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer

The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea ExplorerPhoto - Michelle Robin Anderson

The plush red seats of the Downstairs Theatre of the Seymour Centre during Sydney Festival are filled with chattering punters. In the case of The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer, some of those bobbing heads and bubbling conversations are from the mouths of youngsters, who hypothesise and label all the things that they see on the stage.

Lit by a single light arcing out from the top of his head, like a single antennae, a man in black lycra suit sits at a computer. In the darkness of the stage the white/blue screen of a laptop makes it appear like he is just a face and hand grasping an inkless pen skirting over a wacom tablet. On stage, a large white material circle - a moon, a porthole, a shadow screen for puppets, a surface to project animations, live drawings… accompanied by the gentle strumming of a ukulele, occasional disco tunes and the occasional monologue we are told the The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer.

The world in the not too distant future (once the polar icecaps have melted and polar bears have toppled face first into the sea) is at the pointy end of a crisis. Options to save the remaining people on earth have slowly been discounted: man made islands sank and expeditions into outer space confirmed that there is no where else to go and confirmed the suspicion that we are truly alone. So is Alvin Sputnik. His beautiful, smiley wife (and fishing companion) has died, and he watches as her soul lifts up out of her body and floats down into the sea. He is alone. There is one last option for humanity – for an explorer to adventure into the sea and to the utopia at the centre of the earth in order to bring it to the drenched surface. Alvin volunteers in the hope that he can be reunited once more with his wife.

Deviser, perfomer, puppeteer and animator Tim Watts has created a magnificent work worthy of its international praise. Unique and endlessly creative, utterly resourceful and surprisingly delightful, The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer, is a story about love, bravery and altruism. Visually spectacular and emotionally engaging Watts’ story blends traditional lo-fi storytelling techniques with the latest software and gadgets resulting in a story which is both very dark and extremely hopeful.

This isn’t a saccharine sweet children’s show – didactic and cautionary. It’s an uplifting all-ages reminder of how love can inspire the most heroic of deeds and most terrifying of quests and a gentle reminder that love endures beyond all loss.

Take your boyfriend/husband or your girlfriend/wife, your children, your grandparents, your best friend. Allow yourself to marvel at the inventiveness of this utterly unique and engaging performer, allow yourself to delight in the humour and tenderness of Alvin’s world and allow yourself to surrender to the warm satisfying glow of a beautiful, well-made story.

Sydney Festival 2011
The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer
Perth Theatre Company and Weeping Spoon Productions

Creator and performer Tim Watts

Venue: Downstairs Theatre | Seymour Centre, Chippendale
Dates/Times: January 18-21 at 6.30pm | January 19-22 at 8.30pm | January 22, 23 at 4.30pm
Duration: 50mins
Tickets: $30
Bookings: Sydney Festival 1300 668 812 | Seymour Centre 02 9351 7940 | Ticketmaster 1300 723 038

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