‘You can’t fail to be utterly entranced by this delightful, splashy sisterhood’: THE LITTLE MERMAID – Underbelly Festival

In Circus, London theatre, Opinion, Reviews by Shanine SalmonLeave a Comment

Underbelly Festival, London – until 12 August 2018

To my shame, perhaps, I haven’t seen anything but comedy at the Underbelly’s South Bank location, and I certainly hadn’t seen any sort of circus in a while, so it was a real treat to see something a little different. Metta Theatre’s Poppy Burton-Morgan has taken the classic tale of The Little Mermaid and given it a very modern spin; quite literally, given the incorporation of circus skills into the hour-long tale.

The performers are quite the multi-taskers, singing, playing instruments and flexing for our entertainment throughout the hour. Some truly thrilling moments are created through acrobatics, the tricky cyr wheel and aerial circus, to the point where I can imagine some new young recruits to the discipline. Burton-Morgan has worked with Matt Devereaux to produce a charming original soundtrack, perfect for her reimagining of some very traditional elements of the story. Clever sound design enables the cast to play instruments and sing, bringing a lovely folk atmosphere which complements the intent of Metta to celebrate the 250-year anniversary of circus.

The press release for this production would lead the average audience member to suppose that a lot is being attempted in such a short running time, but happily, the combination of feminism, folk and circus is a happy one, which certainly seemed to captivate everyone in the room with me, from 4-year-olds to grandparents. The modest costumes suit the stripped-down staging, with every performer displaying bucket-loads of charisma, musical talent and quite sublime circus skills. Even if you don’t have a child to entertain, you can’t fail to be utterly entranced by this delightful, splashy sisterhood.

Shanine Salmon on Twitter
Shanine Salmon
Shanine Salmon was a latecomer to theatre after being seduced by the National Theatre's £5 entry pass tickets and a slight obsession with Alex Jennings. She is sadly no longer eligible for 16-25 theatre tickets but she continues to abuse under 30 offers. There was a market for bringing awareness that London theatre was affordable in an era of £100+ West End tickets – Shanine’s blog, View from the Cheap Seat, launched in April 2016, focuses on productions and theatres that have tickets available for £20 and under. She is also quite opinionated and has views on diversity, pricing, theatre seats and nudity on stage. Her interests include Rocky Horror, gaming, theatre (of course) and she also has her own Etsy shop. Shanine tweets at @Braintree_.
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Shanine Salmon on Twitter
Shanine Salmon
Shanine Salmon was a latecomer to theatre after being seduced by the National Theatre's £5 entry pass tickets and a slight obsession with Alex Jennings. She is sadly no longer eligible for 16-25 theatre tickets but she continues to abuse under 30 offers. There was a market for bringing awareness that London theatre was affordable in an era of £100+ West End tickets – Shanine’s blog, View from the Cheap Seat, launched in April 2016, focuses on productions and theatres that have tickets available for £20 and under. She is also quite opinionated and has views on diversity, pricing, theatre seats and nudity on stage. Her interests include Rocky Horror, gaming, theatre (of course) and she also has her own Etsy shop. Shanine tweets at @Braintree_.