Review: The Little Mermaid, Norwich Theatre Royal

The Little Mermaid, Northern Ballet
The Little Mermaid, Northern Ballet

Review: The Little Mermaid, Northern Ballet, Theatre Royal Norwich

Northern Ballet are great supporters of us here in Norfolk and we are regulars on their touring route.

And us dance lovers, in turn, rejoice in their frequent visits.

This new production - we are the second date on their national tour - is their third new show of the year and is something rather fabulously different. They have taken Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairytale, The Little Mermaid, and created a dramatic and evocative ballet.

It is true to the original rather than the saccharine Disney version so please don’t expect a happy ending.

Rather we follow the innocent Marilla, beautifully played by Abigail Prudames, as she gives up everything for Prince Adair (strongly played by Joseph Taylor), the love of her life, only to discover, rather too late, that he prefers Dana, danced by Dreda Blow, who, crucially, has legs!

NBT artistic director David Nixon has choreographed and directed the piece, as well as overseen the costumes so it is very much his baby. Indeed, the costumes and the clever sparkling mermaid tails are an intrinsic part of the dance, influencing and inspiring moves, while Sally Beamish’s specially composed score adds to the watery, ethereal atmosphere.

This is a thoughtful, emotional piece - there are no ‘wow’ moments or flashy tricks. Rather terrific dancing by dancers allowed to show their full abilities in an eerie, watery setting accompanied by a delicate score.

The show continues until Saturday, when there is a matinee.

Sarah Hardy