Little Angel Theatre's The Singing Mermaid tells a story of determination and resilience
- David Pollock
- 5 February 2019
Puppetry, performance and music bring Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks' storybook to life
'The Singing Mermaid is absolutely about determination and resilience,' says Samantha Lane, artistic director of London's Little Angel Theatre and director and co-adapter of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks' storybook for the stage. 'The mermaid gets swept up in the moment, in the allure of fame and what it can bring, and I think that's quite a contemporary theme, when we look at all the television shows which offer instant fame. But the reality of that isn't always what it seems, and she goes on a learning curve which finds her saved by friendship and solidarity.'
First staged over Christmas 2017 at co-producing theatre the Royal & Derngate in Northampton, Donaldson and Monks' story (the pair are perhaps most famous for What the Ladybird Heard, while Donaldson's huge library with other artists includes The Gruffalo) tells of a singing mermaid who runs off with the circus to find fame and fortune, but soon finds herself longing for home when she is kept captive by the nasty circus owner. Little Angel's version is told through puppetry and song – as composed by co-adapter Barb Jungr – with three performers bringing the story to life using 34 puppets.
'I've got two girls who are nine and seven now,' says Lane, 'but when they were younger this book was a clear favourite, we read it an awful lot. I remember thinking as I was reading it to them that it would make a fantastic show, because it has all the excitement and drama that you need, and it tells a wonderful story that little girls and boys can all engage with.'
Festival Theatre Studio, Edinburgh, Wed 6–Sun 10 Feb.