Review: The Everyman Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto The Little Mermaid

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Adam Keast & Francis Tucker in The Little Mermaid. Photograph by Robert Day

By Simone Richardson

Pantomimes are a guilty pleasure of mine, and Sarah A Nixon and Mark Chatterton’s latest rendition of the Rock ’n’ Roll Panto of the Little Mermaid did not fail to shrimp-ress.

Held at Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre, the annual rock ’n’ roll panto was set on a vibrant, striking stage with glitter and tassels hanging from every inch of the cast member’s costumes. With a very Mighty Boosh and Spike Milligan feel, every ounce of the panto oozed eccentricity.

Establishing the difference between a costume or character change caused a little uncertainty to begin with, though once set in their main roles the cast gelled together to bring a night to remember.

Princess Marina, played by Stephanie Hockley, exquisitely assembled Ariel’s infamous set of notes and lead us through the well-known tale of the mermaid who wishes for ‘danglers’ (better known as legs) so that she and her prince are free to live happily ever after. The show did not lack in skilled vocalists, joining Princess Marina was baddie Ivanna Golddig and fairy Angel, played by Lucy Thatcher and Imelda Warren-Green, who had the crowd at their feet throughout every song.

For a very little man, Captain Nemo, played by Adam Keast, used his charisma and exaggerated vowels to play out his humour. His ‘romance’ with notorious dame Pearl, played by Francis Tucker, entertained the audience throughout the show along with their regular use of Liverpool colloquialisms such as “kidda”, “lad” and “I’ll have ye”. They engaged the whole audience, with their water gun fiasco soaking up the children’s approval and the breaks in character generously serving the older members of the crowd, it was fun for all.

The element of rock gave Musical Director, Greg Last, the excuse to pull out all the stops with covers of music legends; Queen, Rod Stewart, The Beatles, Barry Manilow, The Shadows, The Drifters and many more. The band, which consisted of Greg and whichever cast members were not acting at that time, played saxophone, piano, guitar and drums. They played with such flair and enthusiasm, that it would be just as enjoyable to watch them play as an isolated act.

The relatable songs throughout the show and the suggestive humour targeted at specific members of the crowd, made the show appealing to an older audience as well as the younger. Particularly Pearl’s constant contact with ‘John with the beard’ who sat in the front row. Pearl explained her love for beards as they give ‘something to hold onto’, to which the audience roared.

Leaving with a wet ponytail and a stomach full of stitches, it was clear to say I enjoyed the witty rendition of one my favourite Disney tales. What a perfect way to start off the festive season and get in the joyous, Christmas spirit.

About the author / 

Simone Richardson

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