DarkChat's Katerina saw and loved Meow Meow's solo show back in 2010 and last year we were mesmerised by her performance as part of Barry Humphries Weimar Cabaret as part of the Edinburgh International festival winning the coveted DarkChat award for Best Perfomance In Entertainment or Musical. So, when we heard she was returning to perform her cabaret piece " The Little Mermaid" we knew we had to come.
Typically, we have been quite early for most shows this but on this occasion we didn't arrive too early as we already had tickets. This, ultimately, proved to be a mistake as I hadn't realised that our seats were in a booth for 6 people, the other 4 had already arrived and pinched the best seats so I ended up perched on the end of a sofa facing away from the stage. So, for seventy five minutes I had to swivel to see the glorious spectacle. A week on and my neck has still not fully recovered. Anyway, back to the job in hand and reviewing the show. (On the subject of the venue I must also state how hot it was in there. I liked the cabaret style décor but it was the warmest venue we encountered this festival, which is saying quite a lot).
To be honest "The Little Mermaid" is not a show I know much about. I am aware it is a short story by Hans Christian
Anderson and a popular Walt Disney film, but as I have neither read or seen it I am really none the wiser. And after
watching the show I can't say I am clearer about the rather odd plot. But, I do prefer just watching a show on its own
merits rather than have any preconceptions.
I certainly wasn't expecting Meow Meow to arrive on stage alone whilst singing Black's "Wonderful Life" I song I have
always liked but you rarely hear nowadays. She was soon joined by her wonderfully lively and jolly band. The opening
section sees our star bemoaning how tough finding true love is nowadays.
There is a lot of talking in the show (which I enjoyed as Meow is always mesmerising), though DarkChatter Anne would have preferred more singing ( a comment she also made about Michelle Shocked and Benjamin Clementine). Then for reasons I still don't quite understand I found myself grasping one of Meow Meow's thighs (I can think of worse ways of spending a Wednesday evening) as she decided to crowd surf. This may have seemed a good idea on paper or after a few drinks but the reality of relying on an ageing audience to stand up and manipulate a woman above their heads was verging on the dangerous and credit must go to the stewards who worked extremely hard to ensure an accident didn't occur).
Although the Australian singer is a great performer she needed someone to react with and Chris Ryan proved to be the perfect foil. Oddly, I had previously seen him a few years as part of the impressve "Big & Small" with Cate Blanchett but I wasn't expecting his glorious, almost operatic singing voice. His dual roles of Brendan & the Prince certainly livened up proceedings adding a lot of humour and unexpected aerial movement.
This is a strange show. I think it was a little over-long but I still loved it. That is undoubtedly due to the star (though the set designer should also take a bow) who again wove her magical web over the adoring crowd. Credit must also go to the Siren Effect Orchestra who perfectly backed her eccentricities. I am also pleasesd I purchased a copy of the CD as I can re-create my enjoyment at home without damaging any neck muscles.
A wonderful evening of controlled mayhem.
Wednesday 9th August