A Heart at Sea review at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh – ‘sickly sweet’

Avi Simmons and Peter Morton in A Heart at Sea Avi Simmons and Peter Morton in A Heart at Sea
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A collaboration between puppeteer Peter Morton and singer-songwriter Avi Simmons, A Heart at Sea is the prettily told story of a boy who throws his heart away in grief, only to have it stolen by a pesky whale.

Regretting the decision, the boy leaves his home behind to undertake a voyage with a salty sea-dog ship’s captain, and the pair journey through beautifully rendered choppy waters, ice and snow to reclaim the boy’s lost heart.

Gavin Osborne-esque Simmons makes some beautiful feedback loop harmonies when given the opportunity, but as there is almost no speaking in the show, with the whole thing entirely sung, she spends most of the hour delivering the fairly thin plot.

Morton, who has designed the puppets as well as puppeteering them, has also created an absolutely beautiful set, and together the pair create some magically inventive moments. However, the show verges into the sickly sweet so often that it ends up feeling a bit cloying.

A Heart at Sea is a perfectly nice morning Fringe show suitable for all ages, but the combination of over-whimsy and under-writing makes it a not especially memorable one, despite its odd few moments of real beauty.

Likeable puppet show with original music suffers from over-whimsy and under-writing