Charlotte Church’s The Last Mermaid review at Wales Millennium Centre – ‘visually stunning’
Commissioned for Cardiff’s inaugural Festival of Voice, Charlotte Church’s production, The Last Mermaid. owes as much to the surreal Gothic style of Tim Burton as it does to Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid.
Co-writer Church also performs as the eponymous mermaid, the sole survivor of a lost kingdom. Delighted at the chance to leave the water and walk on land, she finds herself in a world that, while beautiful, she struggles to understand.
The production design is visually stunning. The Weston Studio stage is deceptively empty, filled instead by video projections and atmospheric lighting. Rick Fisher bathes the set and performers in blues and greens.
The excellent design masks what is, at times, an incomprehensible production. It isn’t always clear who the characters are, and the poetic but cryptic lyrics require more unpicking than perhaps they should in a family show. Church can certainly hold her own on stage. Her vocal performance is typically superb, but she’s also a capable actor, and the supporting cast complement her well. Good as the performances are they don’t really drive the story forwards.
There are moments in this piece where you sit back and marvel at just how beautiful it is but often the narrative fails to engage. The Last Mermaid is never boring but it is at times confusing.
We need your help…
When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.
The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.
We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.
Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.