The Legend of the Little Mermaid

Sticking close to the original story by Hans Christian Anderson, a cast of five use dialogue and contemporary style dance to tell this dark story of the sea and love.

The contemporary dance sequence used in the opening scene was an effective imitation of the swells and currents of the ocean.

The tale is that of a young mermaid who, when she reaches the age of 15, is allowed to swim to the surface of the ocean and see the world above the water. Whilst she is enjoying the wondrous sights she witnesses a shipwreck and saves a young prince from drowning. Desperate to see him again and experience the human world, she gives her voice to the evil sea witch in exchange for legs. She then experiences the world and is reintroduced to her prince, but his heart ultimately belongs to another in one of the darkest of fairytales.

The contemporary dance sequence used in the opening scene was an effective imitation of the swells and currents of the ocean. Dance was used intermittently throughout the rest of the show, and was effective again in selective scenes such as when the prince was flung into the ocean from his ship and when the sea witch was making her potion. However, in many scenes, the movements were clumsy and stunted. Sequences also were very long and got a bit boring as a result, such as the one in which the little mermaid was watching the prince and his bride sleep. The interpretive dance was quite a complex technique to attempt for a children's show and was unfortunately left wanting holistically. It seemed a little too abstract and confusing for the kids in the audience who were fidgeting. Where dialogue was used, the lines were well scripted and well learnt, but a little devoid of believable emotion.

Costumes were a strong point, especially for the mermaids. I particularly thought the way that the Little Mermaid lost her fins and revealed her legs was cleverly done. The sea witch's costume was additionally effective, making very interesting shadow shapes upon the back wall. The scenery was minimal but effective. Videos of underwater, storms and sunsets were projected onto white boards at the back of the stage which gave a very artistic vibe and changed the tone and location of scenes well. Unfortunately, the movement of scenery that occurred in the transition between scenes was badly choreographed and awkward, and there was some distracting thumping from movement in the wings during some of the dialogue.

All of the concepts that the company have used were clever and interesting but despite this, when put together, the result needs a little more polish to be recommendable.

Reviews by Kayleigh Blair

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The Blurb

The Legend of the Little Mermaid, performed by the Scotland Contingency of the Winnetonka Theatre Department of Kansas City, MO USA, explores the darker side of Hans Christian Andersen's classic tale, The Little Mermaid, through the medium of storytelling and devised physical theatre, performed by a troupe of five actors, with the original score composed by Spencer Williams. This colourful movement piece, with extravagant costuming, will capture the imagination of audiences of all ages with powerful storytelling and visual imagery.