The little mermaid delves into a world of manipulation, as a mother controls her daughter whom she relies upon for love and the reason for her existence and being.
The mother, played by Georgia King, portrays her role with suitable neurosis as she drowns her daughter Grace (Jacinta Larcombe) with excessive love and concern one moment and then snaps, as she tries to regain control of her daughter’s life. King provides some of the comedic moments in the play as she teaches Grace to dance and recounts the best night of her life – her 1997 school ball.
Larcombe portrays Grace as a frightened, fearful daughter who hesitantly moves around the stage for fear of the wrath of her mother. She dreams of being a mermaid and recounts the story of her father meeting a mermaid and escaping with her. Grace talks to a photo of Leonardo DiCaprio, pinned on her bedroom wall, until she meets the misfit James played by Ben Gill. This dorky misfit gains confidence and allows Grace to surface and see the possibilities of a relationship based on real love.
The question is can she stay on the surface long enough to embrace a life and love on the land?
The set by scenograher, Shayne Preston, consists of cast iron sheeting rising up from the stage arching across the roof. The sheets are reminiscent of the past where the two main characters appear to be stuck. Sound design by Laura Jane Lowther reflects the feeling and sounds of the sea and helps to create tension within the production.
The clever use of bubbles and use of electric fan adds to the atmosphere of the production. The scene in which Larcombe and Gill produce bubble and ocean sounds from a flick on their cheek and voices is mesmerising. Close your eyes and you would almost swear you are by the ocean.
The Little Mermaid is a production of many layers that examines the question of finding ones place, whether that’s on dry land or in the depths of the ocean.