The Little Mermaid

Date 13th May 2023
Society Hoylake & West Kirby Theatre Group
Venue The Gladstone Theatre
Type of Production Musical
Director Ami Clewlow & Simon Brock
Vocals & Tracks Ted Clewlow
Choreographer Ami Clewlow, Simon Brock , Liam Comer
Producer Hannah Broadbere & Ted Clewlow
Written By Alan Menken

Report

Author: Joanne Rymer

The Little Mermaid

H.A.W.K

13TH May 2023

What a wonderful atmosphere greeted us on the matinee performance of H.A.W.K s first youth production The Little Mermaid. The sheer hubble and bubble of excitement from siblings, parents met us in the foyer of the Gladstone Theatre Wirral. The air of anticipation was almost tangible. Disney’s The Little Mermaid is based on one the Hans Christian Anderson’s most beloved stories and the classic animated film. With music by eight-time Academy Award winner, Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, and a compelling book by Doug Wright. The score will capture your heart with irresistible songs, including ‘Under the Sea’, ‘Kiss the Girl’ and ‘Part of your World’

Ariel, (Abi Barker) King Triton’s youngest daughter wishes to pursue the human Prince Eric in the world above, bargaining with the evil sea witch, Ursula to trade her tail for legs. However, the bargain is not what it seems and Ariel needs the help of her colourful friends, Flounder the fish, Scuttle the seagull and Sebastian the crab to restore order under the sea. Her father, King Triton (Payton Campbell) has shielded his daughters (she has 6 sisters) from the human world believing that they are responsible for his wife’s death. A fine performance from Abi, what a lovely voice she has, congratulations.

Meanwhile, in the “Human” world, there lives a young Prince Eric (Jack Darker) who truly shows his leading man’s talents in this role. He loves the sea and sailing and does not truly want to be King, however that time is near. He has to find a princess to please his father his guardian Grimsby (Jonathan McAdams) goes out of his way to find a suitable princess for Eric.

Sebastian, the Crab is played to perfection by Silas Abedin. He is one cool dude/crab! Flounder Finley Marsden, is an adorable character. Sam Darker is a powerful comic Scuttle. When a freak storm dooms a ship carrying Prince Eric, causing him to fall overboard and sink, Ariel rescues him falling deeply in love with him. Prince Eric in turn has fallen in love with the unknown mysterious lady with the beautiful singing voice who rescued him and left him alone on the beach. His aim is to find that girl! Ariel's wish is to be part of his world! The two youngsters find that attaining one’s dreams is not as easy as one might think.

In fact, there are several messages hidden in this wonderful story. One is about mistrust or disliking people or species that are “different” just because they are “different”. A very important one in today’s world. Also, that a father can love his child and protect them, but there does come a time to allow them to slip and fall and learn from their own mistakes. Great messages, to be sure.

Eventually, King Triton asks his trusted court composer Sebastian to look after Ariel and to try to stop her from carrying through any more questionable decisions. For his part, Sebastian tries to convince Ariel that staying and living under the sea is her best option for true happiness. Silas and the show's ensemble treat us to their high energy Caribbean flavoured production number, ‘Under the Sea’ it was truly brilliant. Enter the devilish sea witch, Ursula the deliciously evil George Swift.  It turns out that Ursula all this time has been slowly plotting revenge against her brother, Triton who years earlier had banished her from his kingdom. Ursula turns to dark magic and with the help of her two eel companions Flotsam (Charles Brock) and Jetsam (Sam Eason) lure her naïve niece Ariel with promises of a spell to give her three days of a human experience. Great performance from these two talented young actors

However, as so often, the success of the show rested not only on the talented leading actors but on the team supporting them both on and offstage. It is not easy to portray animal characteristics effectively, let along fish, turtles and seagulls, but all the actors did so commendably and often hilariously.  "She's In Love," is absolute fun from start to finish, congratulations to Ariel's sisters whose lovely voices produced some lovely harmonies on this song. Jessica Forster as seafood connoisseur/crab would-be-murderer Chef Louis is a visual and musical delight. Great performances too from Keysha as Carlotta, Olivia Carr as the inquisitive seahorse and the undoubted dance talent of the very elegant Poppy Yates. Prince Eric’s ship portrayed the storm perfectly, praise too must go to the junior chorus who performed beautifully, to many ‘aah’s from the audience some future stars of the stage there! Praise here to the choreography, Ami Clewlow, Simon Brock assisted by Liam Corner.

What can I say about this production team? The costumes were outstanding - so colourful and beautifully made. Congratulations to the wonderful super creative Rose Evans and her team.  Loved the back projection, which cleverly depicted the story unfolding on stage adding to the enjoyment of the show, as did the lighting effects. Directors Ami Clewlow and Simon Brock are to be congratulated for their vision and leadership of this young cast, and hard-working stage crew, Lucy Marsh (lighting) Joe Sanderson (sound).

Shows like these always make for a great introduction to the live performing arts for kids, while adults will enjoy the nostalgia that harkens back to a Disney classic. The enthusiasm from these young actors was amazing, great stage chemistry, they loved entertaining Mums, Dads Grandparents and enthusiastic siblings their cheering supportive audience. This is community theatre at its very best long may it continue

Thank you so much for inviting me I had a fantastic evening. Looking forward to Sister Act.

 

Joanne Rymer

NODA

District 4