The Little Mermaid: A Movement Piece
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DAVID MACDOWELL BLUE
June 04, 2017
What I liked
First and foremost—about 2/3 of the way through, something technically went wrong (first performance, first real tech in the venue) and the music flickered then cut out. The. Performers. Did. Not. Skip. One. Beat. They went on and performed, at one point improvising a choral piece from back stage. THAT ladies and gentlemen is “The Show Must Go On” with rockets!
I also really liked how they fused a few details from Disney to make the narrative a tad easier to follow, while remaining true to Hans Christian Anderson. Bravo for that!
The overall way they decided to interpret the tale worked very well, also.
What I didn't like
Honestly, I really would have preferred full-on dance rather than the vague descriptor “movement piece.” At the very least I’d want something with the strong precision of mime. Example—and this is a mighty challenge, to be fair—if gaining legs is such a big deal, then all the movements by the merfolk pretty much need to somehow avoid using legs, or at least draw attention away from them. Somehow. A tall order, to be sure.
And while the overall power of story, characters, atmosphere grew throughout until the climax did indeed work, did indeed move me emotionally, it was slow starting. “Start with a bang” is a good motif, and frankly I wish this show had followed through.
My overall impression
Mixed. The good proved to vary between good and very good. The not-so-good (nothing qualified as bad) hovered around below average, especially at the very start. But by the end I felt moved by an adaptation of a genuinely powerful piece, faithful to the original (not Disney) and performed by clearly talented people. But then, I went in hoping for more of a ‘dance’ (having a background there) so my expectations got in the way.