Music & Lyrics:
Allie Herbert, David Hynds, Harry Burt and Joe Church
The Little Mermaid:
Astrid Watkins Baker
I realise this has been a tremendous undertaking for all concerned and the team effort for the writers of the libretto, lyrics and music certainly produced a mini masterpiece. The staging, set, lighting, costumes and choreography then contributed to a delightful afternoon’s entertainment.The story is based on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, presented by interesting dialogue and well peppered with entertaining songs and dances. The story is faithfully reproduced but with interesting additions and most thankfully a changed ending which is happy instead of sad.
It is not a pantomime, but a fully fledgling musical which based on the entertaining production I saw on Sunday deserves a much wider audience and recognition.The production at the Merlin used many talented children and young people, with the older characters played by adults. It worked extremely well with everyone totally immersing themselves in their roles within the fairy tale.A simple but very good and well painted set of scenic waves, set in a ‘sea and shore’ floor, complemented by excellent projection of visuals under the sea, firework, a storm and magnificent buildings set the scene for the unfolding story. With imaginative lighting, the set worked very well as a backdrop for the story.
Colourful imaginative costumes were worn well throughout. The delightful fishy tails of the mermaids with their constant swaying and rippling movement led me to forget their legs. The style, colour and grandeur of the land lubber sailors and palace occupants including the King and Queen, was in direct contrast with the jewel like colours of the underwater creatures.The dancing was well designed and performed, congratulations Abi Holmes , you had a clean canvas on which to design your imaginative dance and movement, very well done.
The music was well composed around the lyrics which were excellent, the words progressed the story and both the songs and dance were integral to the story rather than ‘add on’ production numbers. The small band performed well and the MD Joseph Church had total control on tempi and the cast intro’s and exits from his well placed position with the band in the wings. Memorable among all the musical numbers were…Oh Sister Please Tell, It’s a Celebration, Snippity Snip, All the Colours of the Sea, Magical Winter (good song and dance) and the Finale
The writer and director Claudia Peplar is to be congratulated not only for her vision for this musical adaptation of a well know tale, but also for bringing together a team with the conviction and imagination to bring this new piece of musical theatre to the stage.There were some magical moments which included The Shipwreck, The Princes drowning and rescue by Tallulah and the Wedding.There was total commitment from the youthful and adult cast with very strong talented performances.
With excellent principals to numerous to mention, I will single out just a few… A delightful Little Mermaid, Maisie Fogg stole our hearts with her lovely light voice and nymph like dance, I was truly thankful for the happy ending. The Sea Witch was very strongly performed by Steve Huggins, a baddie you loved to hate… but it all came good for her/him. Lovely Princess Mayona played by Leonie Harrison, demonstrated her beautiful voice in her solo singing.
Clever Claudia introduced light relief in the form of Nip and Tuck, Aynsley Minty and Ryan Hughes. These were as funny a pair of Shrimps as I have seen, never descending into pantomime but just the right light comedy touch to soften this often sad tale and I loved the cat fish!So together with a very good…Grandmer, King and Queen, Prince Edgar and Triton, there was a company group of adults to support the excellent youths and children.
This was an excellent company show, with the director taking every opportunity to use a large mixed age talented cast in an extremely entertaining way. Suitable for an audience aged 3-90, with short scenes, easily followed good story and memorable tunes it’s a winner in every respect! Who needs Disney!Very well done to everyone concerned.
This new work deserves publication and should be seen by a wider audience with performance by other clubs, dance schools and societies.
Written by Sue Pomeroy NODA SW Reg Rep District 9