While in Brisbane, my friends and I had the wonderful opportunity to catch a live performance at the Brisbane Festival. While driving into the city we did a quick google search and came across an intriguing description of a burlesque version of The Little Mermaid. On a whim, we booked three tickets, showered, ate dinner and walked from our Brisbane hostel to the show at hand. Below is my review of the show. Hint: We LOVED it!! Also, we couldn't take photos inside so I unfortunately have no photos.
Meow Meow's little mermaid
At first the show was nothing but funny. The audience is introduced to a wailing and scattered, work out mermaid. A middle aged burlesque dancer crammed into and I'll-fitting longerie set that is ripped and haggard as she is. She theatrically wails out the first line, "this is a show about happiness."
The next few scenes show meow meow searching for love in all the wrong places. She makes light of a serious issue by pointing out her flaws and including the audience to laugh at them with her. Why can't she find a love that sticks? At first glance we think it's funny because her hair is a wild mess, her hose has holes in it, she's all over the place! But as the show goes on, so does the depth of the subject.
About midway meow meow pulls things out of the depths of the sea (her subconscious). She finds all the broken pieces of her past lovers. Out of the hole comes a mannequin's chest, an arm, a foot. She also pulls out a blow-up doll version of herself..complete with a large open mouth and massive inflators boobies. She explains that this was her younger self, eager to please for the pursuit of love. She then puts her younger self aside, near the back of the stage. She also fits together all the broken mannequin pieces to make one mid mangled sculpture, a symbol for all the things she liked from each of her former loves. All she wants is someone who speaks French but sings in German, someone with a great torso and a perfect rack and f course a sense of humor! Is that too much to ask? She says.
Together the mannequin mess and he blow up doll stand silently as symbols for the mess we have made of love. They are not moved or mentioned until later in the performance.
Several times, during her babbling and bawling and theatrical performance, she is interrupted by a standard Australian tradie in uniform. He says he's trying to fix the special effects. She wants bobbles and they aren't working! Every time he interrupts her she is irritated and short with him.
But then he appears in her fantasy. Meow has given up hope and sold herself to gain a pair of human legs. Love is sacrifice after all right? She gives up what makes her special in hopes of finding love. Deep into the hole she disappears until suddenly, she is brought up in a fish net. She fights and struggles and eventually makes her way to the surface where she awkwardly learns to walk. It just so happens that during this awkwardness a certain Prince Charming is watching. He is dressed in a glamorous romantic get up, complete with a shell covering or glorifying his crotch. He speaks poetically to her before she interrupts him and says his outfit is weird. He reminds her that it is the outfit she chose for her own fantasy and then continues. She stops him again to complain about his lines before he reminds her that she too wrote the lines. Eventually she decides he isn't perfected either. So she gives her blow up doll to him and sits alone to cry. She explains how being perfect and shiny can "wear a girl out". It wears you out! Again, she gives up to exhaustion.
During the final act meow is on the verge of a breakthrough. She finally sees the subject clearly! She is about to reveal her insight to the audience when the tradie pops back up to check on the sound system. She tells him to shut up and quickly tries to return to her performance, only to be overly interrupted by the tradie. She stops finally to listen and hears him compliment her singing and ask her out to karaoke. She giggles and then complains about something and walks over to find a cord on the stage. She curses and plugs in the chord and instantly the lights brighten and out from the ceiling come millions of bubbles. They float around us and fill the tent with a light and fun sensation. She bursts out in song as the tradie helps her on to a swing where she gracefully (for the first time in the show) swings and dances and sings. Love is all around us after all. All we can do is love. Everyday.