Writer: Sarah A Nixon & Mark Chatterton
Director: Mark Chatterton
Reviewer: John Roberts
It has to be said that if the Everyman Rock ‘n’ Roll panto was ever to disappear then the theatre scene in Liverpool would be much worse for it, especially if this year’s flippin’ fintastic offering is anything to go by.
Writers Sarah A Nixon and Mark Chatterton have given Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid their usual anarchic twist ensuring that the audience have a whale of a time as they are invited under the sea for this epic adventure.
Marina our aquatic heroine, played by Stephanie Hockley wishes upon the full moon to spend the evening upon the shores, swapping her scales for danglers (legs), while on land she meets and falls in love with the dashing Prince Hal (Jamie Noar) and trades her hair and voice with the evil Ivanna (Lucy Thatcher) to ensure she can stay on the shore and close to her new-found love… however, things are never that easy.
As with all Everyman pantomimes, the super strong and multi-skilled actor-musicians do it all – they sing, they dance, they hit every comic beat perfectly and they all play multiple instruments, this proves once again to be a magic formula that certainly marks this as one of the most unique pantomimes in Liverpool.
Hockley is warm and caring as the young Marina and is matched perfectly with Noar as her Prince. A trio of fish fairies played with a commanding energy comes from Danny Burns, Elizabeth Robin and Imelda Warren-Green. Tom O’Connor is a hoot as the forgetful Flounder, his surreal view on the world around him bringing this reviewer to fits of laughter. Thatcher is devilishly delicious as sea witch Ivanna… But once again it’s the dynamic duo of Francis Tucker and Adam Keast that prove that with age things do really get better, this is a partnership that never tires and this year playing Marina’s sister Pearl and Captain Nemo respectively brings mayhem and madness every time they are on stage.
Tucker’s dame is brilliant, many traditionalists will bemoan the fact he parades the stage in full stubble and little make-up and doesn’t try to convince us he’s a female and that’s where his cheeky character really comes alive. Keast is equally commanding on stage and has excellent rapport with the audience.
Played out on the regions boldest and most colourful set (designed by Dinah England), there are plenty of surprises hidden within its floors and walls, equally delightful and surprising are the costumes which provide plenty to look at.
Arguably The Little Mermaid stands as one of the strongest pantomimes in the region this year and if you are still looking for a treat this Christmas then the Everyman may just be the plaice.
Runs until 20 January 2018 | Image: Robert Day