Photo – Andrew Gough
Thunder crashes, lightning flashes. “This is a show about happiness.” Meow Meow purrs archly. She is about to bare the secrets of her never-ending quest for love, and isn’t love happiness personified?
The Little Mermaid, a Hans Christian Anderson tale, as it was written in 1837, is a far more brutal life lesson. The Disney cartoon is laughable in comparison.
Beautiful and brazen Meow Meow is a delight. She opened with a fabulous version of Wonderful Life. Her wide, lovely vocal range is matched by her athleticism and balletic skills.
Even unsure audience participants melt under her charms, donning their own mermaid tails and long tressed wigs without demur. Never straying far from her darkly witty diva persona, Meow Meow growls “Down, down! Don’t block me.”
This production incorporates elaborate staging and sumptuous costumes by Anna Cordingly and gorgeous lighting effects by Paul Jackson. The concept of a stage trapdoor being the entrance to Meow Meow’s mind, memory and imagination is a brilliant conceit. It’s a treat to join her on this bizarrely beautiful journey.
The clever asides and puns are a constant in this sub-aqueous script. But who could predict crowd-surfing, net swinging, aerial acrobatics and a happy ending with an Ocker tradie (Chris Ryan) checking the bubble mechanics?
Much double entendre and laugh out loud fun as well as warmth and terrific talent. Meow Meow, (Melissa Madden Gray) was in top form. The object of her desire, her fantasy Danish Prince, (Chris Ryan again) provided an excellent foil. The talented sailor-clad band played and sang original songs by Iain Grandage, Megan Washington and Kate Miller-Heidke among others. This is a major ensemble work, created and performed by Meow Meow and directed by Michael Kantor.
The show drew an ecstatic response from the packed audience.
Perth International Arts Festival presents
Meow Meow’s Little Mermaid
Director Michael Kantor
Venue: Octagon Theatre UWA
Dates: 24 – 28 Feb 2016
Tickets: $55 – $25