The title of this multi-award winning play sounds like an Indie film more than anything else, and, in that respect, it does not disappoint. Much like some of the great Indie films of the modern age – for example Gentlemen Bronkos or Napoleon Dynamite – The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer combines simple naiveté with powerful emotions of love, loss, desperation and hope. As such, it has a little bit of everything for the young and old.
Set in a post-apocalyptically flooded world, the remaining survivors live on skyscraper farms atop the highest mountain peaks still above water. Billions have died and the scientists that have survived have only met with failure in trying to save humanity. Their attempts have been quirky and imaginative: floating islands, space probes, giant sponges and refreezing the icecaps. But to no avail. What they need is a hero, and they find it in the recently bereaved Alvin Sputnik, who lost his wife to a bad cold. However, instead of looking to the heavens for salvation, Alvin is sent into the murky depths to find the key to man’s survival, a mission he accepts with the bittersweet knowledge that he will be reunited with is love once more.
In this deceptively simple one-man show created by Sam Longley, viewers are treated to an ingenious and beguiling blend of live action, puppetry, animation, music and film to tell a story of love, loss and quiet heroism with an engaging energy. This underwater micro-epic is full of charm, adventure, heartbreak and breathes a touch of Greek tragedy mixed with modern-day irony and inventiveness. Longley delivers an entirely successful and unique blend of mime, puppetry, live and recorded music, and animation to present an exploration of the next and oldest frontier: the deep blue sea.
As if that is not enough for an evening’s entertainment, The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer comes to Penang with a trail of accolades and awards from all over the world. Showing its longevity, it was voted the winner of Outstanding Solo Show at the New York Fringe Festival, Best Production Team at The Blue Room and Best Production at The Blue Room in 2009. More recently, it was the winner of Best Show at the FIL Fest Brazil in 2015. It has also been rated 4-5 stars by newspapers such as The Guardian, The Independent and the Sunday Mail, even being described by The New York Times as ‘… an endearing Australian solo show… akin to a theatrical “Wall-E.”’
In essence, this might possibly be one of George Town Festival’s most memorable performances in years, and it would be shame for anyone looking for fun-loving, emotion wrenching and outside the box entertainment to miss. For those that are interested, make sure you also attend the workshop to find out how a production like The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer is achieved.
Shows take place on Wednesday 30th and Thursday 31st August at 8.30pm, at Loft 29, 29 Lebuh Gereja. Tickets are priced at RM 65 and RM 85, and are available from the George Town Festival office on Armenian Street, or at https://airasiaredtix.com/alvin_sputnik.