Touring – reviewed at MAST Mayflower Studios, Southampton
It’s rare as a reviewer to be invited to a tour of the theatre as part of your invitation package. Before watching Unfortunate: The Untold Story of Ursula the Sea Witch a group of invited press was given a comprehensive and interesting guided tour of where and how the theatre magic was created.
When I first read the press release the idea of an adult parody comedy musical from the perspective of Ursula the sea witch, the notorious villain from The Little Mermaid, intrigued me. How could this work? I decided to find out how this would play out on stage and I was certainly not disappointed.
The fast-paced adult-themed humour certainly lives up to the advertising. The clever script brings current important affairs to the “surface” – the disgusting environmental crisis of waste being dumped into our seas, the damage caused by the negative press, the fact that plus-size ladies are beautiful – all of which reminds the audience that men and women should be treated as equals.
Elliotte Williams-D’Nure’s performance as Ursula is outstanding and throughout her American accent reminded me of the incredible comedian Ruby Wax, cutting to the quip and making a stand for powerful women. It’s never right that women standing up for themselves are often vilified.
Ursula’s love interest King Triton’s (George Whitty) charismatic charm and operatic voice leaves the auditorium stunned during several of his solo songs.
The fantastic display of underwater sea life puppetry brings the ocean scene to life. Sebastian the crab, played by Allie Dart, was my overall favourite, slipping in and out of an Irish accent throughout.
It’s refreshing to watch a musical comedy that highlights and raises such important topics without feeling like you have sat through a long speech. Presenting them in a way that you carry on considering them long after leaving the theatre.
Outstanding musical performances all around and a selection of fantastic costumes. There’s nothing to dislike about this musical, I was hooked from the first number. As a company, they have set their sights on performing in the West End and I honestly think they have an excellent chance of fulfilling that dream.
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