Tuesday, June 18

Unfortunate: The Untold Story of Ursula the Sea Witch – Blackpool Grand

As the title may suggest this is a modern take on the Disney classic ‘The Little Mermaid’ from the point of view of Ursula. But don’t be fooled, this is certainly not a family outing, from the offset the performance is very adult, in language and theme. It’s very crude in parts, my friend who came along actually said that it went too far on occasion.

I really didn’t know what to expect this evening, as I had only watched a short trailer, but being a huge fan of Disney and the Little Mermaid I was really looking forward to it.

I’m very torn about my opinion on this show, parts of it were strong and entertaining, whilst other parts were unnecessary, and I had lost interest.

Throughout the evening, the balance of the sound wasn’t great, when the ensemble were performing with a leading character we couldn’t hear everybody, I also then missed some of the story because I couldn’t understand what they were saying, as it’s so fast paced.

One thing I will say about the performance this evening is that the energy was constantly high throughout, and the cast were undoubtedly talented.

In parts the humour just was not for me, and I don’t mean that it was too crude, I just mean I found myself looking around seeing other people laugh, meanwhile I wasn’t finding it funny. So please don’t only take my word for it, each to their own, I suppose.

The music was played live with a small orchestra, led by musical director Arlene McNaught.

Photo: Pamela Raith Photography

All of the action took place on the same set, with just a few additions here and there, I thought the lighting plot was great, and it’s not very often that the technical team get a shout out , the lighting design was provided by Adam King.

As far as costuming goes, you could see that time and effort had been put into Ariel and Ursula, right down to the wigs and the accessories, elsewhere it was lacking in parts, particularly during the puppetry moments. Having said that the imagery on the program of Ursula, in comparison to what we greeted with on Stage just does not match up, The makeup and the wig were good, but the dress looks floppy and aged, I was expecting a somewhat feminine interpretation of the character, even sexy, as we see on the image with long nails, a big cleavage and detailed tentacles.

The show was too long overall, it dragged in parts particularly towards the end of act one. The people around me were having to get up and go to the toilet several times, which was becoming quite annoying.

Now for a few positive moments,

I enjoyed the ensemble number ‘ We didn’t make it to Disney.’

Shawna Hamic shone as the larger than life Ursula herself, Hamic has a stunning résumé including time spent on Broadway, and the National tours of Les Miserables and Kinky Boots, she also featured in TV’s Orange is the New Black.

Hamic had a lovely rapport with Thomas Lowe as Triton, they were very funny and believable together.

Absolutely nothing about this performance was politically correct, adding to the controversy River Medway was beautiful as Ariel, she gave us some really comical moments throughout the evening, one of my favourite being her solo performance of ‘ Where the dicks are’ facial expressions, innuendo galore.

Special mention for two outstanding members of the team, Julian Capolei who plays various roles throughout the performance and also Allie Dart, who seems to be able to play any role, and it wasn’t until I got home and looked at the program that I even realised that she’d played some of the roles.

I must applaud them for such diverse casting, all different shapes and sizes, genders sexualities, breaking the mould and this is to be applauded.

The whole thing was very melodramatic, somewhat similar to pantomime.

I have to say, as always, the grand Theatre Blackpool always provides the best hospitality, and we even received merchandise, and some themed cocktails, which I’m very glad I said yes to now!

I left the theatre feeling a little bit dazed at what I had just watched, it wasn’t what I expected at all. However, the theatre was full, which is always nice to see and people were laughing and clapping along,

Don’t take my word for it go and see it for yourself,  performances run through to 25th May.

I wish them a successful run.

Reviewer: Rebecca Casey

Reviewed: 21st May 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.