Last night, we all headed to one of our favourite local places, Malvern Theatres. The new Metta Theatre production of the Little Mermaid is an incredible, awe-inspiring take on the Hans Christian Andersen Story. It’s only 70 minutes long with no interval and a tiny cast. We were all utterly spellbound throughout.
The Little Mermaid – the story
The original Hans Christian Andersen story has been adapted in various ways over the years. The Metta show has its own twist in the tale. It follows the Little Mermaid, her Seahorse friend and all her sisters. On the Little Mermaid’s 16th birthday, her sisters allow her to visit the surface. She excitedly ventures up there and meets her prince charming.
As in the original story, the mermaid saves the prince from the sea. But when he wakes up, he believes somebody else saved him. So, when the Little Mermaid makes a deal with the Seawitch to hand over her voice in exchange for a night on land, she has the prince’s bride to be to contend with.
Sadly, the prince doesn’t choose the Little Mermaid quickly enough to save her voice. But it’s not long before her seahorse friend comes to the rescue. Soon, her sisters find the prince to explain what happened on the night he fell into the sea. But the Seawitch has other ideas. I won’t tell you any more because it would ruin the ending. But it suffices to say that the ending isn’t the same as either the original or the Disney version.
A few months ago, we went to the Chinese State Circus. This was the first time the girls had seen acrobats and they couldn’t believe their eyes. In fact, I was so convinced they’d love the Little Mermaid that I didn’t tell them we were going until yesterday morning. It was lovely to see them so excited.
And as you can imagine, they weren’t disappointed. What I loved about the acrobatics was that it didn’t steal the show. Instead, it added to the story in a really innovative way. There were lifts, aerial performances, a huge ring that the Seawitch danced with and even juggling. The acrobatic performances were the perfect way to simulate the mermaids being in the sea.
I loved the original folk songs that the performance was set to. Each one was strangely haunting, giving the feeling of being underwater. But what really impressed me was the way the performers were playing musical instruments on stage. Neither myself nor my husband could work out how one of them was holding the cello. Let alone playing the violin whilst hanging upside down.
The performance only lasts for 70 minutes, with no interval. For a school night activity, this was perfect. It is also a great way to watch the story unfold. Everything happens at a fast pace, keeping you gripped from start to finish. The recommended age for watching the Little Mermaid is eight and over, but younger children will be admitted. Whilst it’s not aimed at very young children, my two absolutely adored it and didn’t find it too scary. We loved everything about the Little Mermaid and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.