Northern Ballet - The Little Mermaid Review - Southampton Mayflower

Northern Ballet are a powerhouse in the world of dance. With countless shows that are full to the brim of creativity, elegance, and talent, I was more than pleased to see their adaptation of The Little Mermaid was heading to the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton this autumn. 

Based on the classic tale by Hans Christian Anderson, this story is a far cry from the Disney tale most associate with the title, but still carries the same level of magic and mastery that will leave every audience member speechless throughout. 

The story follows Marilla, the youngest mermaid who longs to explore the world above the ocean. Falling in love with Prince Adair after saving him from a menacing storm, Marilla trades her voice for legs with Lyr, the Lord of the Sea. As Marilla watches her dream future wane, she must learn that without communication, she will struggle in the world of humans. As with the original story, there is no happy ending, but matched with a score by Sally Beamish and choreography by David Nixon, this is nothing short of beautiful. 

One of the most striking things about this show is both the costumes and staging. With a modern, slick set that is based around two flats that convey both the sea and the land, you are tricked with wondrous lighting to make you feel that the sun is shining down on the sea below with ripples and reflections that immerse the whole stage. The costumes compliment the two distinct locations in the show, with blues and greens that float across the stage to symbolise the sea, and the earthy tones of kilts and dresses for the land. The mermaids and Lyr stand out from the rest of the cast with vivid colours, sparkly dresses and gorgeous wigs. Marilla stood out from the earth-side cast with her silvery-blue costume that gave her a magical glow, whilst Dillon the seahorse was kitted out in a stand out red that never failed to make me smile. 

The cast of the show were phenomenal, with each bringing poise and perfection to their roles. Saeka Shirai was perfectly naive and charming throughout, yet able to bring the pain and anguish in both her performance and facial expressions as her world collapses. Filippo Di Vilio brought a seahorse to life with his performance of Dillon, with the perfect light relief when a wave of sadness appeared. Joseph Taylor was the perfect Prince Adair who shares his own vulnerabilities throughout the show and pairs perfectly with Marilla.  

 The Little Mermaid is an ethereal piece of ballet perfection. Northern Ballet have done it again and never fail to impress me show after show. With brilliant choreography and staging that feels as vast as the ocean itself, The Little Mermaid is a show full of equal parts happy and sad. It's a brilliant show for first time ballet audience members and seasoned veterans, and many a young face was absolutely captivated throughout the whole show. 

The Little Mermaid continues at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton until 22/10/2022 before continuing onto Newcastle. Tickets are still available via the Mayflower website:

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