REVIEW | The Little Mermaid, Northern Ballet.


The Little Mermaid, Northern Ballet
Curve Theatre, Leicester
★★

Most of our knowledge of The Little Mermaid stems from the Disney's take on the fairytale story in 1989. The Northern Ballet's production of the story presents itself as thoroughly absorbing, incredibly choreographed and a visual masterpiece take on Hans Christian Anderson's fairytale. The production complete's the companies year long hat-trick of performances, re-creating stories we all know superbly and with every detail to the last fingertip. 

After talking to Leading Soloist Dreda Blow before the performance in an interview (read here) I was intrigued by what it would have to offer the audience. 

The stage is transformed into an underwater wonderland, with details in the use of puppet structures. Choreographed by David Nixon, he creates a Ballet which takes the athletic and power of the body to its fullest. 

Some of the foundations of the story that we all know are still there. The Little Mermaid still falls in love with a handsome prince after she saves his life after his ship is caught in a storm at sea. She is convinced she is in love with him and begs to travel to the ocean surface and be with the prince. The only difference is the story doesn't have the Disney happy ending and the Lord of the Sea isn't a sea witch named Ursula but a Lord of the Sea named Lyr.  



Photo: Emma Kauldhar
Lyr lives in fear of the humans and wants to remind the mermaid, named Marilla belongs in the underwater world. However, he does agree to grant her a potion that will transform her into a human for the cost of losing her beautiful voice and will live in agony. She heads up above the ocean waters and lives amongst Prince Adair's court. She is forced to watch the Prince not fall in love with her but another woman, who he believes was the person who saved his life, when in fact it was Marilla. 

Northern Ballet's production is aesthetically stunning to the eye. The beauty in the details of the costume design really does bring the underwater world to life. The staging pieces presented in the space become an important element in transforming the scene, mood and atmosphere for the production. The music score by Sally Beamish feels almost cinematic but did at times felt slightly slow-paced and not as engaging as I would have hoped. 

Abigail Prudames takes on the role of The Little Mermaid. She brings the role to life not only through her Ballet technique but executing the body language and facial expressions. Her portrayal carries you through the entire production and it's difficult not to be completely fascinated by her strength throughout the story. 

It's a really stunning production that definitely recreates a story you feel you didn't know as well as you thought you did. 

Northern Ballet's production of The Little Mermaid finishes at Curve Theatre, Leicester on 5 May. There's still time to book your tickets here

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