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Review: Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid by Northern Ballet at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury

By Katie Davis

You hear The Little Mermaid, and you think red hair, singing sea life and indeed, a happy ending.

But Northern Ballet's take on the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale is not the sugar coated happily-ever-after tale most of us are used to, but rather one of morals - staying true to Andersen's original tale.

Choreographed and directed by artistic director David Nixon, it is beautifully performed and draws you into a mysterious underwater world.

The Northern Ballet's production of The Little Mermaid Picture Emma Kauldhar

The Northern Ballet's production of The Little Mermaid Picture: Emma Kauldhar

It tells the tale of a young mermaid who is willing to give up everything she knows in a bid to find love.

But that love is unrequited and her aspirations and dreams are contrasted with undertones of tragedy due to her innocence and naivety.

With just two pieces of revolving scenery, dancers elegantly create underwater scenes, with swirling skirts of blue and green.

The Little Mermaid is at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury

The Little Mermaid is at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury

The simplistic scenery is offset by the costumes, which are a real standout part of the show, with the mermaid's tails brilliantly portrayed with silvery flowing fabric.

Abigail Prudames's performance as Marilla, the little mermaid, is truly incredible as she takes centre stage in many scenes, engaging you emotionally in the twists and turns of the story.

The mermaid's sometimes childish ways are captured wonderfully by Prudames and reflected well, and added to, by her seahorse companion Dillion.

Abigail Prudames getting ready to play Marilla

Abigail Prudames getting ready to play Marilla

The ballet is coupled with a live orchestra, which complements the dance perfectly, further immersing you in the tale.

The ups and downs of the story come to a climax when after a storm, Marilla is swept back into the sea as a human.

The closing scene sees her seahorse friend watch as her soul ascends, which is a moving end to this touching tale. 

The Northern Ballet’s The Little Mermaid is at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury as part of its world premiere tour until Saturday, November 18.

To book tickets call 01227 787787 or visit marlowetheatre.com

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