Pond Wife – Edinburgh Festival Fringe – Underbelly, Cowgate

2016PONDWIF_UEPond Wife at Underbelly, Cowgate (Venue 61), until 28 August.

Star rating: two stars ★ ★ ✩ ✩ ✩

This re-working of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, performed by Holly&Ted, offers a trip down memory lane with the soundtrack made of pop hits from the 1990s and 00s. In this version, the surface of the sea is referred to as ‘the glass ceiling’ and the mermaids carry their wisdom in their hair. Long hair is praised and admired; that those beyond the glass ceiling cut their hair and carry wisdom inside their heads is seen as foolish and must surely cause pain.

The performance has some delightful movement sequences: the ‘planking’ mermaid is most impressive. The process of learning to walk is delightfully comic and has the audience in stitches.

As an overall piece, there are some strengths, but also many weaknesses.  The storytelling and the music chosen are at times a little forced into driving the plot.

Holly&Ted exhibit talent, but some of the production choices made serve neither their talent nor the story particularly well.  

 Fiona Orr

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