Throw Wicked, Disney and The Mighty Boosh into a blender with lashings of glitter and you will have Unfortunate: the Untold Story of Ursula the Sea Witch. [star rating =5/5]
This magical musical tells the story of Ursula the sea witch both before and during the events of the film and shows a new side to the Junoesque Disney villain. The story begins in the immediate aftermath of the Disney film and flashes back in time to tell us how Ursula got mixed up with Atlantica and it’s ruling family, as well as her journey to becoming a sea witch.
Famously modelled on cult film icon Divine, the purple octo-diva has become something of a gay mascot in recent years thanks to her campy attitude and hella strong look. The writers and performers of Unfortunate have taken these influences and ran (swam?) with them.
Robyn Grant is enthralling as Ursula, infusing her character with all the Katherine-Hepburn-by-way-of-Jim-Carrey bombast which we would want from a Disney villain. And her vulnerable moments are equally compelling; by the end you could practically feel the audience rooting for her.
Grant is ably supported by Fat Rascal Theatre’s incredibly talented cast, each of whom portray several characters in Ursula’s story. It’s truly difficult to single out any one cast member for special mention, they are all excellent and the musical gives each time to shine. Oh, and did I mention there are puppets?
The musical parody is incredibly self-aware and takes the time to answer several questions raised by the Disney movie. Questions like, who was Ariel’s mother? Where did Ursula get her shell necklace? And what exactly is wrong with Scuttle?
It also features original songs which either act as parody songs of the Disney film or are simply cracking tunes in their own right -my personal favourite is their version of ‘Kiss the Girl’.
The music is fantastically performed by the cast although it would be great to see them in a bigger venue as they could easily fill a much larger spaceport vocally.
All in all, this musical parody is well worth the ticket price and will be especially enjoyable for fans of the original film – if they don’t mind never watching The Little Mermaid in the same way ever again.