Whilst the rain continues to fall, York Theatre Royal take their own journey underwater as they bring Disney’s magical The Little Mermaid to life with the fantastic York Light.
There is no denying the pure magic of Disney; it truly transcends age and you can’t help but feel like a child again as soon as the beautiful orchestrations first begin.
Alan Menken and Howard Ashman already guarantee a night of entertainment with the music that accompanies this classic tale, and York Light did every note justice as they confidently carried themselves from one unforgettable number to the next.
Disney’s The Little Mermaid is at York Theatre Royal from Wednesday 7 to Saturday 17 February.
Paul Laidlaw as musical director and conductor is responsible for the euphonious sound, leading an orchestra of outstanding musicians to command their way through this magnificent score.
And you’re unlikely to feel like a fish out of water with this musical, a tale as old as time which sees our red headed mermaid Ariel longing for life on land and the love of a perfect prince. Monica Frost swapped her feet for fins as she took on the beloved title role, with a timid approach, she played an innocent Ariel throughout – with the younger audience members entranced at her recital of ‘Part of Your World’.
With Prince Eric by her side, the very definition of charming, James Horsman brought a professional standard to this production and it makes me very excited to see what lies ahead in his extremely promising future in theatre.
Whilst we had starring characters like the exceptional Pascha Turnbull as our wicked Ursula, a powerhouse with great depth to her characterisation, or the loveable Scuttle (Martin Lay), who alongside his seagull sidekicks put on a tap number to remember in act two’s opening ‘Positoovity’, there was one character that for me that absolutely triumphed.
I am a firm believer that there are no ‘small parts’, and this was opinion was cemented by Zander Fick who was cooking up a storm as the eccentric Chef Louis. Injecting life into the slower-paced second half, he and his poissons stole the show from the moment he made his flamboyant entrance onto the stage.
The set design was simple throughout and while I am personally not the biggest admirer of projections, I did appreciate the added set pieces which were crafted with care. From Ariel’s trove of treasures to an effectively used bathtub showing life really is the bubbles, these pieces helped the story come to life, even with their occasional slow and silent transitions.
There were moments of technical issues with microphones, however the overall sound balance was fantastic – especially during the big ensemble numbers where the entire company united with undeniable strength and talent.
These show-stopping numbers had the entire audience wriggling in their seats. As the eagerly anticipated ‘Under the Sea’ began to play, I particularly enjoyed watching the adults and children alike unable to contain themselves. I suspect there have been years of dance parties to the same songs that have led to this moment, and watching faces light up and gasps from surrounding children was heartwarming.
The cast on stage only mirrored this energy and you could tell every single performer was having the time of their life – whether turtle, jellyfish or frog, they were proud to be part of this special production.
A huge mention must go to the costume team led by wardrobe coordinator Carly Price, I have never seen such a wide ray of intricate and elaborate costumes – these alone are worth a visit to watch this remarkable show.
I can only hope York Light and director/choreographer Martyn Knight take another dive into a Disney Classic as this suited their company immensely.
Disney’s The Little Mermaid is showing until Saturday 17 February and I recommend you grab your tickets quickly as you definitely don’t want to miss out on being a part of that world, there’s no better place to be this half term!
Tickets start from £15 and are available via the York Theatre Royal website.