Updated: Oct 26
On Saturday, Tom and I made the trip to see our old school friend Chloe in Nuneaton Amateur Operatic and Drama Society's (NAODS) production of 'The Little Mermaid'. The musical, based on the Disney film and filled with everyone's favourite Disney songs, tells the story of mermaid Ariel (Ash Jennings), who falls in love with a human, Prince Eric (Charlie Thorpe).
As anyone who knows the Disney film will be able to tell you, Ariel is famous under the sea for her singing voice, and Ash Jennings more than fit the bill, performing many solos, including a wonderful rendition of 'Part of your world', in which Ariel dreams of life as a human. Unfortunately, the evil Ursula (Fern O'Brien-Grant whose fantastic performance earned her more than a few boos by the end) offers Ariel a trade - to swap her voice for the opportunity to be human. Ursula is supported by two henchmen - the electric eels Flotsam (the brilliant Chloe Smith - ok, I'm biased, but it's true!) and Jetsam (Vicky Reilly).
On hand to help Ariel overcome the evil Ursula are fellow sea creatures Sebastian (Nathan Harvey in what can only be described as an out-of-this-world costume) and Flounder (played by the extremely talented 9-year-old Bethany James), as well as seagull Scuttle (Kevin Benson, wielding a puppet and a pair of flying goggles). In fact, the costumes were all fantastic, as was the set - a particular highlight being the shipwreck that saw parts of the stage lift up and throw Eric overboard.
One of my favourite scenes involved Chef Louis (the hilarious Jason) attempting to cook Sebastian the crab, all whilst singing the song 'Les Poissons' (which sounded suspiciously like 'Be Our Guest' from Beauty and the Beast!).
I'm sure it doesn't spoil the story to say that the play has a happy ending, with King Triton (John Ellis-Benton wearing the biggest beard I've ever seen) and Grimsby (Colin Jones) organising the wedding of Ariel and Eric. As someone who hasn't seen the Disney film (sacrilegious, I know!), I still thoroughly enjoyed the play and the catchy music, provided by an orchestra directed by Katherine Brookes.
The play was extremely professional, with the thirty strong cast providing a highly enjoyable afternoon of entertainment - certainly all the children in the audience were kept entranced throughout. NAODS will be back next April with their production of 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat' - I can't wait!
Tom Morley, October 2022