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Unfortunate at Birmingham Hippodrome

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by dpm (subscribe)
dpm is a Birmingham-based freelancer with experience of arts and lifestyle features.
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A very different Little Mermaid

'So you think you know the story of The Little Mermaid well think again' warns Ursula the sea witch in this musical parody of the Disney classic. Created by Fat Rascal Theatre, the show puts Ursula in the driving seat for a re-telling of the tale.

While Disney's Ursula is a larger-than-life presence who is deliciously evil, this Ursula is a much more complex character. Played with gusto by Robyn Grant, we initially believe she's the baddy but we quickly realise there is a heart under those suckers. Dressed in a black leather basque with Marilyn Monroe platinum hair and encircled by arms, she dominates the show. Capable of belting out the many great songs, she's rude, sassy and definitely up to no good.

Unfortunate at Birmingham Hippodrome
Ursula the sea witch

The rest of the cast play all the other roles most of which are a sideways take on the characters familiar from the Disney film. Katie Wells is a dim-witted and ditzy Ariel who is desperate to snare a man so much so she will forsake her voice to win one. Flouncing around with her auburn hair and sea-shell bra, there's no mistaking her Ariel credentials.

Steffan Rizzi is a blue glitter bearded King Triton, a figure from Ursula's past who comes to seek her help two decades after spurning her. Jamie Mawson plays the air-headed Prince Eric who falls in love with Ariel despite knowing her only as 'speechless woman'. And Allie Munroe is the much-loved crab Sebastian. Dressed head to foot in orange, she runs around the stage guiding the action and clicking her pincers at the characters.

Unfortunate at Birmingham Hippodrome

There's bucket-loads of imagination thrown at this show - from the sly digs at Disney, the story twists, the smart lyrics and the frequent allusions to the environmental damage to the oceans which is such a hot topic at the moment. Add in plenty of humour and some really strong songs and there's so much to enjoy in Unfortunate. Aimed at 14 plus, plenty of the jokes are distinctly adult humour this is not a Little Mermaid for the kids!

Staged at the Patrick Centre at Birmingham Hippodrome to largely sold-out audiences, you can't help but feel Unfortunate will soon be playing much larger venues.
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Why? A sideways swipe at The Little Mermaid
When: Until 22 December
Phone: 0844 338 5000
Where: Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome
Cost: From 12
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