There’s nothing like losing yourself in a ballet, and the Northern Ballet’s production of the Little Mermaid is pure escapism!
From the dazzling costumes to the poignant music and – of course – the incredible talents of the dancers, it’s a wonderful show. It’s found favour with people of all ages – there were a lot of little girls adorably dressed up and completely lost in the show. Possibly some future ballerinas right there.
It’s such an accessible story, in part due to its Disney fame (although this is the original Hans Christian Andersen version – no happy endings or singing crabs here) and thanks to the clever choreography, by David Nixon, which makes motivations crystal clear.
The show opens with an exquisite under water vista, filled with draping jellyfish, colourful fish and glittering mermaid tails. We meet beautiful Marilla (Dreda Blow) a young mermaid who lives under the sea with her sisters, but longs to explore the surface. Her greatest wish leads her to her greatest weakness as she falls for a handsome Prince (Giuliano Contadini) who lives on the land. A potion allows her to escape the ocean on legs, but leaves her without a voice and in terrible pain. This section in particular was incredible – her performance was so believable that I almost found myself wincing in sympathy.
She spends time with the man she loves, but he is torn between two women, and unable to communicate with him, poor Marilla is left behind. Her solo dance of sorrow was truly moving, and you could have heard a pin drop in the theatre.
It was wonderful to experience the thrill of a live orchestra, the Northern Ballet Sinfonia, and peer down into the pit to see them hard at work. A special mention must also go to the costumes, which allowed the mermaids full, fluid movement while still including a tail (and Strictly-levels of sparkle).
All in all, it was a wonderful evening of dreamy romance and heartache, highly recommended to committed fans and ballet newbies alike.