Review of Macrobert’s Little Mermaid Christmas Panto
By Cara Boyle
We’ve all seen the classic pantomime, the slapstick nonsense that leaves us cringing in our seats, the painful tongue in cheek jokes that no one gets, and the always reliable ‘OH NO HE ISNT-OH YES HE IS’ scenario. Well let me tell you, this pantomime is completely different from what you would expect, and totally raises the bar in my opinion.
Written, directed by and starring Johnny McKnight, who completely steals the stage with every glamourous costume change and good humoured gag. The rest of the cast equally are completely comfortable on stage, particular mentions would be the fantastic Dawn Sievewright as Ariana and Robert Jack as Daz. From my experience, pantomimes usually just use the younger ensemble cast for the big numbers as dancers and backing vocals, but in The Little Mermaid they were consistently driving the plot throughout as well, even with some funny lines thrown in, which was seriously refreshing for me and allowed them to showcase their own talents.
The plot was surprisingly darker than I expected at times, and it wasn’t all light-hearted humour which was again a nice change from what I’m used to. The costumes are larger than life, colourful and extremely well done, particularly Ursula’s octopus costume, the wacky wigs and the mermaid tails. One of my favourite parts of the costumes are the mermaids using Heelys to move about the stage – huge shout out to the creative team for this! It was a great touch, and you could tell the kids in the audience were captivated straight away. The set was well designed, and the sea theme was kept throughout, which at one point had the ensemble playing an octopus as bagpipes and a starfish guitar, (even the stage crew wore snorkels and goggles while moving the set!), and the quick transitions between scenes didn’t make the show lose momentum or lose the audiences interest.
The songs were used to full effect, sometimes for comedy, and other times for drama. They were all modern songs everyone knows the words to, some kids were up and dancing in their seats the entire time, and included really well thought out mash-ups that served the plot well and weren’t just thrown in for no reason. The comedy in this production was one of the highlights, with slapstick for kids, and pop culture references for the older people in the audience, but my personal favourite was the impeccable imrov by all of the cast. They turned wardrobe malfunctions, flubbed lines and interaction with the audience into a part of the show flawlessly. This is definitely a show for all the family, and I would definitely recommend it for a good laugh!
The Little Mermaid is showing in the Macrobert Arts Centre from 28th November to 3rd January and are selling fast, so book your tickets now!