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The Little Mermaid Northern Ballet at Milton Keynes Theatre

Published by: Alison Smith on 19th Apr 2018 | View all blogs by Alison Smith


David Nixon’s Little Mermaid – a reworking of Anderson’s fairy tale – is as atmospheric as it is absorbing. The underwater world is portrayed imaginatively by an aqueous set, resplendent with shimmering, weaving creatures in beautiful costumes, and undulating  waves in delicate shades of blues and greens . Most notable was the fluidity of the elder mermaids (Ailen Ramos Betancourt and Miki Akuta) held aloft by the male waves.

The little mermaid Marilla – a Celtic name echoing Sally Beamish’s Celtic musical touches –  was danced by Abigail Prudames who excelled in her role, both as a lithe rippling mermaid and a pained, physically and emotionally, two-legged creature. The weightless submarine world is contrasted with the heavier, dowdier appearance of humans. Again there are Celtic touches in the kilts and in the earthy colours of the costumes, drab shades of brown with the occasional red and pink.

 Prince Adair (Joseph Taylor) is the beloved of Marilla, but he falls in love with Dana (Dreda Blow), a human; Marilla, bereft returns to the sea. The duets between the prince and his beloved are joyful ; the couple are perfectly matched in precision and athleticism. The choreography of the duet between the prince and Marilla is doleful in comparison and transmits the sadness of Marilla. For this is a tale of unrequited love and of sacrifices made for love. It is not a happy-ever after tale.

The action is accompanied throughout by an eerie, folksy score played by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia and ethereal  lighting – blue for undersea and yellow for land –  the filtering of  shafts of light into the sea was most effective.

This is a wonderful production. The story line brings with it many limitations for the choreography ; my one negative comment is the consequent  lack of vitality in the dancing – Lyr, Lord of the Sea ( Matthew Topliss) danced with verve and spirit,  but there was not enough of this . Beautiful and captivating as the ballet is, it is also somewhat soporific.


 The Little Mermaid is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday  21st April

 0844 871 7652

 Booking fee applies




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