REVIEW: The Little Mermaid at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Northern Ballet, The Little Mermaid. Abigail Prudames and Joseph Taylor

The Little Mermaid by Northern Ballet recreates the age old Hans Christian Andersen story of a female who has to choose between her voice, or her body, to get what she wants.

Meanwhile, her sisters ask for something and have to pay the price of their hair. This is not a cheery retelling where any woman comes out on top, or even equal in the game of life, but actually, the loss of the mermaid hair would have done our protagonist Marilla (played by Abigail Prudames) a good turn.

I found her bleached locks, synchronised swimmer forced smile and nodding dog head (seriously, some of the fishier moves were like those head nudges you get from a labrador intent on being petted while you’re drinking your tea) stole from the story, eliciting little sympathy for her plight, or her eventual demise.

Prudames is immensely talented as shown by movement throughout, particularly the excruciating stand-out scene where she finds her legs, but something’s been lost, and while the relationship between Prince Adair (Joseph Taylor) and Dana (Dreda Blow) the woman he falls for, was played with delicious delight, it seems with this direction, Northern Ballet’s Little Mermaid is cold-blooded.

The real stars of the show were the costumes. The movement of the beautiful fabrics clothing the sea creatures was delightful to witness, as were the mermaids’ tails and silvery pant suits.

The set is rotated by the ensemble, and this relationship needs a little work as some pushed and pulled with grace, others with brute force. But as a concept, the set which spirals between a cave, beach, boat and more, worked terrifically well.

Until tomorrow.

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