The Little Mermaid
15th December 2017
TADS Theatre, Toddington
Type of Production
Lea Pryer/Harry Rodgers/Rachael Horsler
Author: Nova Horley
A charming, gentle pantomime written by Lea Pryer and based on the original story, enlivened by the outrageous Octavia and the evil Priscilla. So nice to see a different pantomime but with traditional twists.
It was nicely written, with plenty of fishy one liners, delivered with relish by the cast, and enough audience participation to keep us interested.
The undersea effect was accomplished well, with lighting and sound effects, Paul Horsler coming up trumps as usual with technicals that suited the feel of the piece, and enhanced the settings. The lighting effect at the end of Act 1 was particularly pleasing, and the pink ceiling spots on Priscilla also created a super effect.
Sound was good throughout, with the use of mics for some of the cast, which evened out the sound overall. Music was suitable and used well, with some nice musical moments from the cast. I enjoyed the general watery references in the music, and the sing-a-long was fun.
Octavia and Puddles song was very good, they had plenty of zing, and Priscilla’s songs were nicely evil and right on the button. Merina showed a very attractive singing voice, which gained in strength as she grew in confidence.
Costumes were colourful, and I particularly liked the three mermaid sisters costumes, they were very pretty, and Merina’s worked well when she was turned into a human.
I thought the opening was good, but needed a little more energy from Myrtle and Minora in their swimming movements.
It was nice to see older society members catered for, although they did slow the action down in a couple of places!
Mr Nibbles and Mr Tibbles, played by Emily Venn and Jane Murdoch were the suitably dopey shark henchmen, both delivering some very dumb observations, which contrasted extremely well with Priscilla, their mistress.
Clare McGinn and Anna Williams played the two mermaids, Minora and Myrtle, with Charlotte Taylor creating a lovely Princess Merina, who gave a good account of the older sister wanting to go out into the human world and experience all it had to offer. Nicely achieved by Charlotte.
Prince Fredrik, Merina’s love interest, gave Sophie Venn a chance to be the swashbuckling principal boy, which she accomplished with aplomb – not convinced by the eyebrows and moustache though.
Emma Lidford created a nice character as Puddles the clown fish – in a very fetching orange costume.
Rachael Horsler was the rather obnoxious Berta, who was hoping to marry Fredrik, but who had her nose severely put out of joint when Merina arrived!
I loved Steve Loczy as the outrageous Octavia – nursemaid to the three mermaids. Steve created a lovely character, and a good rapport with the audience. His costume was also well constructed for his character and to enable movement. Good all round portrayal, creating believable relationships within the cast. Very well done.
It was good to see Rachel Price return to the stage as the evil Priscilla – loved what she did with the part, bringing her undoubted experience to the stage. The audience enjoyed being able to boo her and shout at her as she tried to create mayhem. Great portrayal.
Overall I enjoyed the evening, perhaps not quite as full on as other pantos I’ve seen, but as I said at the beginning, gentle, with plenty of fun moments.