Friday, 18 June 2021

Undersea tale is worth its salt

Undersea tale is worth its salt

Little Mermaid | Theatre Royal, Windsor | Tuesday, May 8

FROM the outset, with soothing seaside background noises, everyone was completely submerged into this reimagining of the Hans Christian Andersen classic, retold through the hypnotic and lively acrobatics of a circus troupe.

Telling the story of the mermaid who falls for a man who walks on the land, then sacrifices her voice to the Seawitch for the gift of some legs of her own, this was beautifully distilled with a confident performance from a trusting and close-knit team.

Our hearts were in our mouths as people fell back into others' arms, often from a great height, and used trapezes, swinging hoops and poles to utilise the space above as well as the floor.

With sublime sea shanty folk singing, instruments including accordion, cello, violin and double bass and speech — often simultaneously with their courageous and balletic movements — this was moving stuff.

The sea setting was relaxing yet mesmerising, there were light shows and dainty little puppet seahorses, and the costumes worked well — each in aqua, on top of which individual colours delineated each of the characters and their quirks.

There were many clever devices, from red ballet shoes and glass globes to giant hoops and a swinging candelabra, all playing their parts and each spaced out well to tell the tale at its own pace.

This truly was a multi-faceted team, and the way they swayed through the air and supported each other made it look incredibly easy — and incredibly fun.

The amazing strength and suppleness of the artistes enabled a crystal clear portrayal and the story was distilled nicely.

The whole thing was visually enchanting and my children and I were spellbound.

Until Saturday.

Natalie Aldred

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