Writer: Louisa Ashton
Composer: Lawrence Illsley
Designer: Anna Shuttleworth
Director: Shelly Knowles-Dixon
Reviewer: Deborah Klayman
The Public Reviews Rating:
Inspired by the tragic events at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and commemorating the anniversaries of those atomic bombings, Sparkle and Dark’s Travelling Players’ new show The Girl With No Heart is beautiful, magical and haunting in equal measure. Set in two imaginary lands, one where wishes come true and nothing dies and one that has seen unimaginable tragedy and horror, the play is brought to life using life-sized and shadow puppetry alongside evocative live music and sterling performances.
Following Semora, a girl who travels to the war-torn world from her own in search of adventure, she and the audience are quickly introduced to Ike, one of the many children trying to survive in a land made up entirely of paper and ash. In this place babies are born with their hearts in their hands and as they grow up must conceal them, but on their person so they can show them when challenged. These hearts hold the power of both unimaginable good and evil, and it is this dichotomy, mixed with Anna Shuttleworth’s fabulous Japanese-inspired set and costume design, that links the fable to the tragedies of our past.
A fine mix of traditional storytelling and inventive imagery, this is a modern morality tale with an origami twist. All the performances in this piece are superb, but particular mention should be made of the two-woman puppet of Ike (operated by company directors Ashton and Knowles-Dixon) and also Nicole Anderson’s Semora, who runs the full gamut of emotions and plays each moment with breathtaking integrity. Both moving and inspiring, this is a production that should be recommended to everyone and is certainly not to be missed.
Until 25th AugustEdinburgh Fringe: The Girl With No Heart – Bedlam Theatre,
Tags: 2012, Anna Shuttleworth, Bedlam, bombings, Edinburgh Fringe, Hiroshima, Lawrence Illsley, Louisa Ashton, Nagasaki, Nicole Anderson, origami, paper cranes, Puppetry, Richard Booth, Shelly Knowles-Dixon, Sparkle and Dark, The Girl With No Heart, Theatre, Tom William-Oakes