The Little Mermaid
Our production of The Little Mermaid took place during February 2016 at St Johns Church Hall in Poulner.
The gallery below includes a selection of some of the pictures taken from the show
The Little Mermaid
Review Date: Wednesday 17th February 2016
Organisation: Poulner Players
Venue: St John’s Hall
THIS family pantomime, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, tells the story of a lonely young prince who often spends time looking out to sea and a mermaid, Sirena, who falls in love with him.
It’s an unusual theme for a panto, and I can’t recollect ever having heard of such a production locally – rather surprising since there is scope for quite a few cracking character parts. In this particular production, directed by June Buxton, the story, plus the presence of a good few youngsters in the cast as well as more seasoned performers, ensured, on the first night at least, that all ages were drawn into what was happening on stage, joining in lustily whenever the opportunity arose.
On the down side, because this is not a typical panto it doesn’t open in some village square where the local people are milling about, and without the presence of a chorus at the beginning I did feel that the first quarter of an hour or so rather dragged despite Timmy Topp (Adele Buxton) and Lou Bottom (Tim Mabbett) doing their best to whip up the audience’s enthusiasm.
However, things soon got into their stride, not least thanks to the presence of elegant young ladies from the New Forest School of Dance, who looked beautiful in their shimmering mermaid costumes.
What was particularly impressive to me was the standard of acting among the principals, whether adult or child. In the later category the team of sailors – Olivia Bessant, Owen Hunt, Matthew Gosden, Rebekah Pittman, Daisy Irwin and Elysia Lanham – have created lovely memorable characters.
Peter Ansell and Harriet Cairnes have the pleasure – or should that be difficulty? – of each playing two contrasting roles, Peter as the human King Hans and the ruler of the seas, King Neptune, Harriet as the human Queen Helga and mermaid schoolmistress Maris. They do so well with their characterisations that it was a few minutes before I realised I was watching the same people.
Leesa Agar is every inch the principal boy, Prince W, and her scenes with the also excellent – and ever-smiling – Becky North (Sirena) are a delight. I also rather liked Nathan East’s Granny G – definitely a dame but not overstated, and all the better for that, I think.
Every panto needs its baddies, and in this one we had Crustacea, an ugly sea witch with designs on Prince W – or more precisely his teeth and hair. Angela Hunt throws herself into the part with gusto, drawing boos aplenty and a huge cheer when she is eventually banished to far-away climes. Her sidekicks, Dabberlock and Bladderwack, are beautifully played by Wendy Cronan and young Charlie Lakin, the latter definitely someone to watch out for in the future.
As for the finishing touches, the set is simple – perhaps a little too much so, even though it is effective, costumes are lovely and there aren’t too many songs.
So does Sirena get her prince or does fate decree otherwise? You’ll just have to go along and find out! The show runs until Saturday and there are a few tickets left for evening performances although the Thursday and Saturday matinees are already sold out.
Reviewer: Linda Kirkman
REVIEW: The Little Mermaid, Poulner Players,
St John’s Hall, Poulner Ringwood
By mbarber | Posted: February 19, 2016
Poulner Players always give good value with their productions and the choice of a wacky pantomime version of The Little Mermaid is no exception. From the terrific programme – in colour and full of information – to curtain down, the audience is treated to an evening of lively entertainment. Based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson, this is a modern adaptation by Kate Goddard which has lots of traditional panto fun combined with up to date touches.
The hero is dashing young Prince William – yes, honestly – heir to the throne of the kingdom of Jutland and he is played with plenty of swagger by Leesa Agar. His parents, the charming Queen Helga (a nice part for experienced actor Harriet Cairnes) and regal King Hans (veteran Player Peter Ansell is also Neptune) want him to make a marriage which will solve their money worries. Even the comedy duo of servants Topp – played cheerily by Adele Buxton – and Bottom (the jolly Tim Mabbett) can’t cheer up the royal household.
Below the waves, Neptune’s daughter Sirena longs to know more about the humans she sees on dry land and the little mermaid – delightfully captured by Becky North – has adventure on her mind. Someone with evil intentions however is the wicked sea witch Crustacia and Angela Hunt makes the most of being a real baddie with lots of facial expression. She is joined by villains Dabberwock (Wendy Cronan) and Bladderwack – a promising debut by young Charlie Lakin – who are all soundly booed at every appearance. Who is the dame character in this story? Granny G (Nathan East greatly enjoys his outrageous outfits and wigs) gets lots of laughs and encourages audience participation.
All the costumes are delightful from the smallest grey sea creature – a special mention here for diminutive Matthew Gosden on stage for the first time with the Players – to the silver robes of Neptune. Also the truly gorgeous dresses of the principal ladies plus princesses (plaudits to the third debutante who is Abbie Clapp as Princess Patsy) and the dancers in aqua hued outfits. All eight girls from the New Forest School of Dance enhance the colour and magic of the production.
Director June Buxton and her talented team are to be congratulated for adapting to the limitations of a small stage and making The Little Mermaid so much fun. It continues until Saturday.