‘The Little Mermaid’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by April 10, 2014

 

‘The Little Mermaid’ is an audacious variant of Hans Christian Andersen’s much-loved fairy tale, especially for adults. It is produced by Houston Sinclair. This presentation by Perth Theatre Trust and Subiaco Arts Centre is part of The Independent Theatre Festival.

Playing in the Studio Theatre, at the Subiaco Arts Centre, 180 Hamersley Road in Subiaco, the delightful 50-minute performances are at 7.30 each evening until Saturday, 12th April.

The stage is at floor level and is surrounded by black drapes. The back wall has a symbolic water effect created by ceiling to floor, fluttering blue and green paper streamers.

      We join shy Grace (Jacinta Larcombe), a withdrawn teenager who just loves water, in her back garden wearing only brief underwear and enjoying the lawn sprinkler playing on her body. When her strict, single-parent mother, Nina (Georgia King) comes out of the house, she is horrified at Grace flaunting her body for the neighbours to see.

     Grace is sent to her room, where she worships at her private ‘shrine’ before considering what to wear for her School Ball. Nina recalls her Ball, offering her nervous, totally manipulated daughter yet more advice.

     Next day, whilst walking along the beach, Grace meets handsome James (Jack Walker) could this mean freedom from her mother and a new beginning?

Director, Ian Sinclair first brought this show to the Blue Room in Northbridge about eight months ago, where it performed to packed houses. The script has been refined slightly and is even better now.

Jacinta Larcombe captures the full depth of the mentally tortured daughter. With subtle face movements, the loneliness and sadness hidden within become obvious. For this part, Jacinta was recently awarded the highly prestigious ‘Geoff Gibbs’ Best Newcomer Award’ – at the equivalent of WA’s Oscars night. Georgia King was also nominated for the ‘Best Supporting Female’ award for her part in another play. Sinclair employs all the actresses’ acting skills in bringing to life this delicate and moving story.

This show is for the 12+ age group. There is no nudity, but some scenes are a little suggestive.

A most enjoyable play, very well presented.