Reviewed by Gemma Ingham
Before I go onto my review of Northern Ballet’s The Little Mermaid at the Sheffield Lyceum, let me disclose first of all, that I am a ballet newbie. I’ve been to one other ballet last year that I enjoyed and it took my breath away. I must also disclose that I love Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and whilst I obviously wasn’t expecting a ballet version of the Disney movie, my expectations were probably slightly coloured by that.
Our little mermaid in this production is called Marilla, and much like the story we all know, she longs to be in the world above. She falls in love with prince Adair and Lyr, the Lord of the Sea, gives Marilla a potion that takes her voice but provides her with human legs.
My first impressions? The costumes were amazing! I guess it’s quite difficult to get dancers to look like underwater creatures but with the sequins, glitter and flowing fabrics it seemed easily done. It was obvious when scenes switched from underwater to on land going by the costumes and the way the set dynamically changed. And although the mermaid and wave and sea creature costumes were amazing, and naturally had to skim the floor I found I really missed being able to see the bottom half of the performers. In underwater scenes there was a lot of movement of the upper body and minute hand gestures to make up for this but I personally prefer being able to see the whole of the dancer.
It took me a while to get into the performance and I found it difficult to fully engage. I didn’t really care about the characters and I just couldn’t get into it. Some parts of the performance I felt were just ‘nice’. And while nice is okay, it’s not amazing. Especially in the second act I found myself thinking that parts were dragging and the dancing seemed to just be plodding along with no real story or wow factor.
The abrupt ending left me lost and feeling a bit dissatisfied. I wasn’t sure what had happened to who, and how they got where they did. Had it not been for the curtain coming down I wouldn’t have been sure it had ended.
Whilst I wasn’t too impressed with the story, the dancers’ were amazing and the orchestra provided the perfect music creating environments that felt light and airy to menacing and dark.
I wouldn’t rave about The Little Mermaid or particularly recommend any of my friends to go and see it. Maybe a person who is more experienced or a real lover of ballet would get more out of it. For me it was just okay.
Tickets cost from £12 to £39 (booking fees may apply).
Northern Ballet’s The Little Mermaid is at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield from 28 November to2 December 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or call the box office on 0114 249 6000.
Lyceum Theatre, Norfolk St, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1 1DA | 0114 249 6000