WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Don’t expect the Disney version of Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytale here. The story of the sparkling mermaid who gains limbs but loses her voice in a quest for love is not the saccharine sweet stuff of the kiddy film. We’re talking grown-up themes of love, loss and identity.
Having said that, it is delicious in its subtle, underlying darkness and beautiful to watch as the tale unfolds of little mermaid Marilla who falls in love with her handsome human Prince Adair and forfeits her swishy tail and lyrical loveliness in her quest for love.
WHO’S IN IT?
This is a Northern Ballet premiere with a fine cast headed up by Abigail Prudames as our mermaid and Joseph Taylor her prince. She is devastatingly watchable as the sweet, flighty innocent entranced by her prince but when she gains her legs there is no dancing for joy; she captures an agony of a new and painful mobility with intense movements that are often difficult to watch.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT?
The costumes and set are a fabulous flight of waterborne fantasy. Lovely languid fabrics swish and shimmer, especially in the ensemble’s swirling pieces. Clever lighting creates pools of glimmer and shade, and a moving set conveys textures of land and sea. It really is easy to feel immersed in the production. The score by Sally Beamish is performed by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia and this adds much to the ballet. There’s a Celtic element to the music, nicely conveyed in set pieces on stage with the male dancers in kilt-style costume.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT?
It’s a lovely, fresh production that would be a fine introduction to ballet for newbies but there are definitely layers of story and precise performance to captivate devotees of dance.
WHEN IS IT ON?