Friday 29 November 2013

The Little Mermaid at Bristol Old Vic

Thursday night saw the first public performance (a preview) of Bristol Old Vic's 2013 Christmas show, The Little Mermaid.
The Little Mermaid, Bristol Old Vic
I've kind of got a fondness for the Bristol Old Vic anyway, it's such a lovely historical theatre, my favourite theatre company (Kneehigh Theatre) regularly play there and one of my favourite actors (Tristan Sturrock) is an associate artist. I've been to see the last 4 years worth of shows - Peter Pan, Coram Boy, Swallows and Amazons and Hansel and Gretel - and this year was the turn of Hans Christian Andersen's fishy tale.
Bristol Old Vic Theatre
Having felt ill that morning and had a day off work, I made sure to take some tablets for the evening as I really didn't want to miss the show. We arrived 15 minutes before the start and found our seats, in the front row of the Upper Circle. The Artistic Director of the Bristol Old Vic, Tom Morris popped on stage to explain that it was a preview and that there was a possibility that things could go wrong (thankfully nothing major did!) and then the story began.
The Little Mermaid, Bristol Old Vic
Most people probably know the Disney version of The Little Mermaid but not many people remember the story originally came from Hans Christian Andersen. I'd certainly forgotten it was him who wrote it! I'm not going to go through what the story is (as I'm sure you all know it anyway) but the way it was done on stage was fab and put a fresh modern twist on the tale. Interestingly one of the musical directors is beatboxing ace, Shlomo and you could hear bits of his influence throughout the show.
I loved the set, sometimes it was really simple (the scenes under the ocean swimming) and sometimes it was quite complicated - the way they depicted The Little Mermaid swimming up to the surface was pretty magical.
Like most of the audience, we were all waiting to see how they were going to make The Little Mermaid swim and what they did in the end was quite clever; simple but effective - she was made to swim using other members of the cast with her fishtail wrapped round her. There were a couple of 'clunky' moments with the tail but it was a preview after all.
The whole cast were great with stand out performances from all four main characters: Beverly Rudd as the Sea Witch hammed up the role of pantomime villain perfectly with plenty of boos throughout the show, Billy Howle portrayed a lovable but bumbling prince, Tristan Sturrock as The Little Mermaid's Dad and MC of the singing competition was fab (as he usually is anyway) and top performance of the evening has to go to Katie Moore as The Little Mermaid herself - she certainly has a voice!
I don't know whether there's any tickets left or not, but if there is and you're in the Bristol area, it's on til 18th Janurary and I'd definitely recommend it - it's a fab Christmas show!
The Little Mermaid, Bristol Old Vic
 Source: Bristol Old Vic
Well done Bristol Old Vic!

P.S. We followed up a great time at the show with some very tasty huge bagels from Bagel Boy in St Nicholas Street, Bristol (thanks Lily Doughball for the recommendation!). I had a 'Naughty Boy' bagel - delicious chicken, bacon, cheese, coleslaw and BBQ sauce. They're also open late so if you're a bit peckish after being at the theatre, best scoot round the corner to Bagel Boy!
Bagel Boy Bristol


  1. Oh I wish I still lived near Bristol - would love to have seen this! X

    1. When they did Swallows and Amazons they took it on tour the following year, so there might be a chance it'll go round the country! :-) x


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