A Heart at Sea (4 stars)

This article is from 2017

A Heart at Sea

Ingenious wooden creations and eloquent puppetry make this simple tale stand out

Kent-based Half a String's captivating hour of puppetry and musical storytelling isn't billed as a children's show, and perhaps it should be. There's plenty that youngsters would surely love about its simple, vivid story, its likeable, memorable songs and its magical puppet work.

And although the storyline – about a young lad who throws his heart out to sea following the death of his sister, then embarks on a quest to retrieve it – might seem rather slight for an all-adult audience, this is a hugely charming, heartfelt show nonetheless. And it's clearly a labour of love for its two performers.

Peter Morton has lovingly constructed a miraculous multi-compartment box of curiosities, through which he slow unveils intricately carved, homespun backdrops for the tale's scenes, also proving a dab hand at eloquently manipulating his ingenious puppets. He's joined by Avi Simmons as singing storyteller, looping samples from guitar, glockenspiel, guiro and more to create luscious backdrops for her touching songs.

Those songs could occasionally bear some gentle repetition, as certain plot developments are passed over pretty quickly – keep your ears open. And you might be advised to sit near the front to gain full advantage of Morton's intricate woodwork. But this is a warm-hearted, joyful affirmation of life's richness, with plenty to delight adults and children alike.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug (not 15), 11.50am, £7.50–£9.50 (£6.50–£9).

A Heart at Sea

  • 4 stars

Musical folktale told with puppets and original songwriting.