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Pond Wife review at Delhi Belly, Underbelly Cowgate, Edinburgh – ‘charming and ambitious’

Holly Norrington in Pond Wife at Underbelly, Edinburgh. Photo: Will Patrick Holly Norrington in Pond Wife at Underbelly, Edinburgh. Photo: Will Patrick
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If first impressions count in the slightest, then Pond Wife might want to revisit its opening. Holly Norrington and Teddy Lamb introduce their show Pond Wife with all the eerie sparkle of second-rate children’s television presenters. There’s mock rivalry, cheesy pop tunes and the promise that the show will hark back to their childhood of the 1990s. Oddly, what happens next is rather charming, as the pair tell their own version of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, using pop music as motivation rather than unrequited love.

The script is laden with multiple lyrics from a selection of popular songs but it doesn’t impact too heavily on the narrative flow. This adaptation has the mermaid fall for pop and assist an artistically blocked diva with her new album. The real boon is the budget effects that Norrington and Lamb use to illustrate the production. A bubble machine features heavily but there’s also lots of glitter, a wind machine and perhaps the most versatile bathtub to have ever appeared on stage.

Pond Wife is by no means a perfect piece of theatre, but its mindset is feminist, its reach reassuringly ambitious and its message upbeat and healthy.

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Verdict
Charming and ambitious piece of mixed-media storytelling
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