Full of dramatic fun, fishy frivolity and thoughtfulness, Derby Theatre’s online production of Mike Kenny’s adaptation of The Little Mermaid, directed by Sarah Brigham, is the perfect winter entertainment vessel for children 5+ and adults alike. This bright and colourful production has a fantastic undersea set and imaginative costumery by Ali Allen, atmospheric lighting by Jamie Vella and superb music and sound design by Ivan Stott. Stott’s music and sound design play an important part in the storytelling and it includes the harp and songs La Mer (Charles Trenet) and its English language counterpart Beyond The Sea (Bobby Darin). It is a real winner in theatrical storytelling appeal and John Barber’s puppets are an inventive delight. With its evil echoing voice the sea witch is quite chilling. The fantastic sound effects really enhance the overall show.
This is Derby Theatre’s first time in venturing out and recording a show and sharing it digitally with their audiences and it really works a treat remaining almost as immersive as a live audience show. The skills of the two storytellers make us feel connected, inspired and entertained with their warm-hearted engagements with each other and thus out to their, in this case, online audience in the www, the world wide waves. Sea what I did there?
There are two casts in this production with four actors in total. Each team of two play alternate showings. In this online viewing we enjoy the affable, energetic and versatile talents of Oliver Ashworth and April Nerissa Hudson. Ashworth and Hudson play two narrator fish characters who take us on a magical journey about the little mermaid who is enthralled with the unknown world above the sea: and the humans which inhabit it. As she looks for true love with a human the little mermaid’s transformation comes at a price. In exchange for a life above the water she loses her tongue and the ability to speak and sing and has agonies in her legs and feet on every step she takes. What does she do to return back to the life of the sea? Well you will just have to watch and find out. At roughly forty-five minutes long The Little Mermaid is as charming a time you could ever have watching a show on Derby Theatre’s stage – even if it is from your own sofa or out on a rock in the middle of the deep deep deep ocean.
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