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The Little Mermaid review at Everyman Theatre, Liverpool – ‘snappy writing’

Cast of The Little Mermaid. Photo: Robert Day Cast of The Little Mermaid. Photo: Robert Day

For their 18th rock ’n’ roll panto for Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, Sarah Nixon and Mark Chatterton bring their familiar topsy-turvyness to The Little Mermaid.

The adaptation feels somewhat inspired by Disney, bringing us a shoal of anthropomorphic fish. Stephanie Hockley plays the Little Mermaid, Marina, in search of humanity, legs and prince Hal. Meanwhile the evil queen Ivanna (Lucy Thatcher) attempts to steal Marina’s hair, voice and future husband. Jamie Noar cuts a dash as Hal and Tom Connor gives a great comic turn as Flounder, Marina’s amnesic protector.

The writers have trawled the depths for fishy puns, while the score has taken on a retro feel, much of its music being classics rather than recent hits.

The performers give everything they’ve got, including stonking vocals and idiosyncratic delivery of lines. The sight of adults being this daft is surely one reason why children love this very grown-up panto. That and Dinah England’s Technicolor designs. Francis Tucker and Adam Keast carry the bulk of the comic dialogue, but this is a real team effort.

It’s a long show, and the first act sags in places, but the pace picks up in act two and delivers a satisfying ending.

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A lively fairytale adaptation full of snappy writing and vivid colour