Wednesday, September 28

Unfortunate: The Untold Story of Ursula the Sea Witch – Underbelly, George Square

Can I give this show 6 stars?! Unfortunate is a phenomenal, intelligent, filthy, satirical extravaganza! Every part of this camp, queer, raunchy retelling of the little mermaid from the perspective of Ursula, the sea witch, was on point.

The cast were an extremely gifted group of individuals.  Ursula, played in this performance by Robyn Grant, was absolutely magnetic and had a voice that was pure electricity. Nearly the entire cast played multiple characters and their portrayals were so unique and different it really felt like watching an entirely different person each change. This is an extremely talented group of performers who have honed their craft to near flawless. The duets between Triton (George Whitty) and Ursula were exhilarating and every song in the show was performed with polished passion and perfection, but the breakaway song in the production was ‘Unfortunate’ it was a catchy, upbeat and seeming homage to the queer vogue club scene, which seemed beautifully apt given the shows focus and commentary on the Disney villain and the queer coding that goes along with that. Like the queer community this show embraces the other and celebrates the things shunned by mainstream, heteronormative society.

It also uses the song ‘We Didn’t Make it to Disney’ to highlight how coding has been used for years to attach sinister and damaging connotations to anyone viewed as ‘other’.

Unfortunate is a smart, witty, self-aware, social commentary that manages to be hilarious, wonderfully dirty and fun at the same time.

It was obvious that the writers, Robyn Grant & Daniel Foxx are huge fans of both Disney and musicals and had managed to create a wonderful ode to the genre whilst still having expertly woven multiple metaphors into the piece with a message of acceptance and celebration of those outside of the conventional. The show pokes fun at ridiculous Disney fairytale tropes and also highlights the problematic aspects of ‘The Little Mermaid’.

The attention to detail in the set design was something that stuck out to me straight away, it was immediately identifiable as the sea witches abode plucked straight from the film and the design of the puppets and their use was masterful. I especially enjoyed Max the dog, Flotsam and Jetsam and the full size singing shark.

The live musicians were adept and did a magnificent job performing these beautifully composed songs with expertise and seeming ease.

This show absolutely has the potential to become a cult classic- it’s like drag cabaret, Disney, a West End Musical, pantomime and the films of John Waters had an orgy and this show was the enthralling, spectacular and mucky result.

Go and see this show! There’s plenty of fish in the sea but there’s only one Ursula!

Playing until 29th August,

Reviewer: Kat Clifford

Reviewed: 21st August 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★