The Little Mermaid review: You will be swept away by the Northern Ballet’s interpretation of this tragic love story.

The Little Mermaid review by Katey Thompson at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking.

This production is a world premiere, the third for the Northern Ballet this year for a company with ambitious vision and the ability to deliver.  This interpretation of the classic fairy tale is based on the original Hans Christian Andersen version rather than that of Walt Disney.  Fans of Sebastian the Crab needn’t be disappointed though as this is a visual spectacle.  Versatile and simple stage design by Kimie Nakano provides the production with a stark shimmering backdrop which almost dominates the scenes.  It is smoothly rearranged into a ships prow, towering waves, or a chalky cliff to add visual drama.  The reflections in the curved shape delicately amplify the dancer’s fluid movements.

The story is of Marilla the mermaid (Abigail Prudames), who is tempted by the world above the waves and enchanted by a picture of a young human prince.  Lyr the Lord of the sea (Matthew Topliss) creates a powerful storm to wrench the prince Adairs ship in two, but Marilla rescues the Prince (Joseph Taylor) and helps him back to the shore.

Related: Theatre Review: Romeo and Juliet (Northern Ballet) 

Marilla is in love but Lyr creates a potion that will allow her to walk on land but at the cost of her fins and her voice.  On land she isn’t recognised by the Prince and he is married to Dana (Dreda Blow) the girl he fell in love with after being shipwrecked. Lyr offers a knife to kill the prince so she can return to being a mermaid, but she can’t bring herself to do it as she is still in love with Adair.  Marilla is swept into the stormy sea again consumed by the waves.

The large cast create a stunning vision of the sea, with Jelly fish, Seaweed and all kinds of fish in shimmering sequinned outfits.  The movement of the dancers showed great power and control, often holding the aquatic creatures aloft.  The fluidity combined with the high leaps was particularly impressive.  You really got the impression that the mermaids were swimming across the stage rather than standing on the bottom.  Particular scenes were especially evocative, notably the storm scenes which combined movement of the dancers creating waves and the ships mast and prow moving dramatically in the wind.  

This is an excellent, visually attractive ballet with expertly crafted choreography from David Nixon.  

The Little Mermaid review by Katey Thompson, November 2017.

The Little Mermaid is running at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking until 23rd November 2017.

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The Little Mermaid