We were invited to go and see a performance of The Little Mermaid at the Underbelly Festival on the Southbank this weekend. I love the Southbank at the best of times, but it really is fantastic in the summer. Rian still remembers the Michael Rosen performance we saw a couple of years ago on an open air stage.
Metta is a theatre act with a real difference, combining musical theatre with circus acts! It honestly needs to be seen to be believed. The Spiegeltent is the location of the show and worth a look all by itself – it’s like stepping back in time to a Victorian cabaret club, you expect burlesque dancers to pop out of the shadows and offer you absinthe. It’s an intimate venue, I don’t think there were more than 50 seats there for our performance and the atmosphere was very relaxed and perfect for little ones.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the show but it was so clever. The actors are all circus performers as well as amazing singers, so we had a beginning song of Ariel yearning to head to the surface of the ocean and see what the land of men was all about (with a little background on her half human/half mer heritage) The performers lift and spin each other, giving a really incredible impression of being underwater. Rian was delighted that some of the mer’maids’ were quite clearly mer’boys’ in bikini tops – their strength was unbelievable! I don’t really want to give too much away, but there are some bits where I was genuinely concerned for their safety – they are so good at balancing!
The story carries on in the usual vein, Ariel see’s Prince, saves Prince, falls in love with Prince. Stupid Prince thinks someone else saved him and wants to marry other girl, only for Ariel to visit the evil Sea Witch to hand over her voice in exchange for legs. Naturally the Prince doesn’t realise who she is and back to the evil witch she goes, which is where a new and rather fabulous twist on the original tale occurs which I’m not going to ruin for you – you’ll just have to go and see it!
They have lots of other shows going on down at the Underbelly Festival, including more grown up ones and ones for even littler people too (like Alien’s Love Underpants!!) and there are bars and lots of street food to try. Rian and I had a slice of pizza and it was completely delicious – I may go back just for another one of those!
This show is part of the Family Arts Campaign which is currently running their “Fantastic for Families” program, which encourages all members of the family to discover and experience events within arts and culture, such as theatre, dance, museums and more