Many a girl in a tutu asked if The Little Mermaid ballet would be like the movie. I watched some of their faces turn from excitement to confusion and wondered: what if the production doesn’t work for them? What if the fact that the song “Under the Sea” is missing is enough to makes them think it’s a rip-off? What if they don’t follow the narrative of the ballet without words to help them along?
Never fear. The South Australian Children’s Ballet Company knows children and knows how to make a show work for them. It was not a rip-off; the children followed the narrative just fine.
Alix Gay did a beautiful job as the Spirit of the Sea with scroll in hand, introducing each scene with a short description (and carrying on like a pro when her mic failed on more than one occasion). Not only was it a clever way to ensure the audience followed the storyline, it also added to the magic fairytale-feel of the ballet.
Ariel, our heroine (danced by Alexandra Dobson) told much of the story through her facial expressions, creating a strong connection between story and emotion. Gorgeous. The choreography of Ursula the Sea Witch, too, assisted in the story-telling. She didn’t need to be dressed in black for us to know she was evil (though her costume is well worth a mention) – her movement told us as much, and though she was sometimes scary, she was stunning to watch.
Whether we were watching the group of sea creatures dance, or the sailors or Prince Eric or Ariel or the Sea Witch, we saw the sea. In the storm scene, for instance, everything flowed in great blue and green waves. And the costumes were fantastic.
This Fringe show has finished but I encourage parents to check out the South Australian Children’s Ballet Company website and pick a ballet to treat your children to in 2014. And please, bring your boys, too!
The Little Mermaid’s short Adelaide Fringe season has now ended.
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