I really love ‘The Little Mermaid’ – not the wide-eyed Disney version (although that’s pretty great too) but the gritty original story of doomed love and the always looming threat of turning into sea foam if you get your heart broken. I couldn’t believe that a cabaret artist as great as Meow Meow would simply sing covers of ‘Under The Sea’ for 90 minutes, so when I heard she had a new show called ‘The Little Mermaid’ coming up at The Malthouse, I had to get myself a seat.
While standing in line for tickets I memorised most of the short brochure for the show – mainly the lines about some of my favourite Aussie musicians helping contribute songs for the show (Megan Washington, Kate Miller-Heidke and more). All the talent behind ‘The Little Mermaid’ makes for a flawless experience. Meow Meow herself has not only the most magical voice I’ve heard in a long while, but also the greatest comedic timing and flair, especially accompanied by a wonderful band and mermen suitors plucked from the audience. This was the first time I have seen the Merlyn Theatre turned into an arena spectacular, with lighting and stage production that would have been right at home in the world’s biggest theatres – including a minor ‘hiccup’ that turned into the greatest plot point of all time.
Not just a night of comedy and songs, the plotline also had deeper meaning (and not just in the oceanic sense). What is love? What is ‘The One’? If a man descends from the ceiling, is it okay to strategically position yourself underneath him? The main thing I took away from it was the broader question of whether or not we really want what we think we do – and the fact that perhaps chopping off major limbs for a dude isn’t always the greatest idea.
I was really truly blown away by this production. It had bubbles, slightly concerning trips into the subconscious, great Australian stereotypes, slightly threatening audience participation, dancing rocks, and a beautiful soundtrack. The finale is truly the pinnacle, though. Meow Meow tied everything together with the one tool that will never fail to leave me enchanted and with a magical smile on my face: bubbles.