The Mail on Sunday - Event - - MUSIC - Ru­pert Chris­tiansen

The Lit­tle Mer­maid North­ern Bal­let On tour un­til Dec 17

This pro­duc­tion is de­signed to give op­por­tu­ni­ties to the younger mem­bers of North­ern Bal­let. Sadly, nei­ther the nar­ra­tive nor the con­cept is strong enough for it to make much im­pact.

David Nixon is the di­rec­tor and chore­og­ra­pher, and

you have a hard time work­ing out what is go­ing on in Hans An­der­sen’s tale of a mer­maid fall­ing for a prince.

It’s a touch­ing and haunt­ing para­ble with sev­eral lay­ers of mean­ing, but not one that in­stantly lends it­self to bal­letic treat­ment. Kimie Nakano’s di­aphanous scenery doesn’t help ei­ther. It’s so ab­stract that what is hap­pen­ing un­der­wa­ter or on dry land be­comes con­fused.

Nixon plays dain­tily with move­ments associated with wa­ter but apart from the mer­maid her­self – a blonde bomb­shell charm­ingly em­bod­ied by Abi­gail Pru­dames – all the char­ac­ters seem generic and the drama never gen­er­ates much emo­tional heat.

Af­ter the in­ter­val, the pace picks up, en­er­gised by Sally Beamish’s flu­ent score and graced with lively danc­ing and stylish cos­tumes. A very pretty show but not a hit.

Matthew To­pliss as Lord of the Sea

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