Skip to main content

Mermaid

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Five stars

In a run-down seaside down where Tesco has left the local fishing industry bereft, teenage Blue sits chained to her mobile phone, desperate for the seemingly grown up world beyond to let her into the party. While her brightly-dressed peers follow their hormones, Blue dreams up a world of her own, where mermaids live in harmony beneath the sea, untouched by the wars that rage above them. One, however, becomes smitten with a drowning prince and the allure of the shiny world above.

It can't be understated just how gorgeous, how poignant and how downright radical Polly Teale's twenty-first century reboot of Hans Christian Andersen's classic tale of The Little Mermaid is in her own touring production for Shared Experience and Nottingham Playhouse. Set against a backdrop of peer-group pressure and privilege, of Royal weddings and media scrums, of anti war marches and beach bodied airbrushed perfection, its not hard to spot the real-life antecedents at play in Blue's stormy rites of passage.

Natalie Gavin as Blue and Sarah Twomey as The Little Mermaid lead a set of eight spikily realised performances supported by a fourteen-strong teenage female choir sourced locally from an on-line shout-out. Liz Ranken's choreography enables the ensemble to throw Busby Berkely shapes brimming with muscle, guts and yearning. Watching The Little Mermaid be taught how to walk in high heels by royal flunkies is a contemporary ballet by itself. For Blue and The Little Mermaid, at least, there is a happy ending, in that they learn to be who they are. As for the Prince, he goes on doing his duty, shell-shocked ever after.

The Herald, May 11th 2015

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – Snapshots Of Masters Of The Multiverse

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School

1

In 1980, the same year as the Manchester band, Magazine, released a 7
inch single called A Song From Under The Floorboards – a three verse
and chorus distillation of Dostoyevsky's novel, Notes From Underground
– an art school scandal occurred.

This scandal took place in Liverpool, and was based around a project
called the Furbelows, although it became better known in the Liverpool
Echo and other organs that reported it as the Woolly Nudes.

The Furbelows, or Woolly Nudes, were a group of artists who had come
out of Liverpool College of Art, who, dressed in grotesque woolly
costumes which featured knitted approximations of male and female
genitalia, made assorted public interventions around the city centre as
kind of living sculptures acting out assorted narratives.

The Furbelows project had been funded by what was then Merseyside Arts
Association, and, after the participants were arrested and taken to
court on obscenity charges after what…

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Martin McCormick – Ma, Pa and the Little Mouths

Family life is everything to Martin McCormick. The actor turned writer is having an increasingly high profile as a playwright, with his biggest play to date, Ma, Pa and the Little Mouths, opening this week at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow in a production in association with the National Theatre of Scotland as part of the Tron’s Mayfesto season. While his own domestic life with his wife, actress Kirsty Stuart, who is currently appearing in Frances Poet’s play, Gut, at the Traverse in Edinburgh, and their two children, sounds a hectic whirl of of juggling schedules, it is nothing like the world he has created for his play.
“I always knew it was going to be about two older people who’d experienced some kind of trauma and grief,” says McCormick, “but whatever it is that they’ve been through, it’s all in the background. They’re suppressing it, and there’s all this claustrophobia caused by all these suppressed emotions they’re going through while being stuck in this room. I guess all that came…