Unfortunate review: Ursula’s back, and she’s more fabulous, wicked, and iconic than ever 

Unfortunate at the Lowry is a dazzling deep-dive into the misunderstood ‘evil’ queen of the sea, whose raging desire to conquer is disrupted by her own doting Prince Eric. And he’s not who you’d expect.

There’s more than one reason this musical parody belongs way past the watershed. 

Unfortunate originally premiered at Edinburgh Fringe in 2019, and this time, director Robyn Grant throws in some fishy plot twists that Disney never let you see coming the first time around.

In an alluring yet absurd turn of events, relationships blossom that even the audaciously purple Ursula (Shawna Hamic) could not have prophesied. 

The result? An organised chaos of witty, ditsy, and absurdly-relevant characters, who deliver a hilarious two hours of wild, brazen, and unhinged fun.  

Unapologetic and misunderstood: Ursula returns to tell the truth. Credit: Pamela Raith/The Lowry

Enough of the original plot remains, but this time, everyone but Ursula’s IQ has dropped deep down below the seafloor. And the result is a wonderfully woke performance with hilarious quips that consistently deliver.

Every. Single. Time.

A hilariously-brilliant scatterbrained Arial (River Medway) delivered some of the most cackingly-crude lines of the show, consistently having the audience in stitches. 

In her notorious quest for an out-of-touch, privileged Prince Eric (Jamie Mawson), Ariel is left to her own devices by a lovelorn – but also seriously self-obsessed – Triton (Thomas Lowe).

The leather, Lycra, and laced up cast of nine shine as they chop and change across a much larger array of characters, proving that the villainous Vanessa (Jack Gray) isn’t the only versatile piece of this theatrical puzzle. 

Allie Dart (Sebastian) delivers a fantastic performance, taking on a gaggle of characters which, at a point, even occupy the stage simultaneously. She is joined by a cohort of daft deep-sea creatures, who finally have their time to shine in this inclusive insight into Atlantica. 

Character deliverance was perfected across the cast, and culminated in the star of the show, a sea cucumber played by an actor straight off the fridge shelf. 

A modern tail: Ariel and Prince Eric depart from Disney’s classic take on this love story. Credit: Pamela Raith/The Lowry

With a soundtrack that can only be described as a pop-rock-classical fusion, this fast paced but perfectly-timed show provides a glittering, raucous, and extremely camp take on the childhood classic. There’s a genre for everyone.

Along with a lot of very adult jokes, this vibrant tale also contains some important messages of individuality and acceptance, proving that learning can be fun. Especially when it’s an all-singing, all-dancing, hilariously-fun lesson such like this.

Unfortunate is on at The Lowry, Salford until Saturday 2 March, and continues around the UK. You can purchase tickets here

Feature Image: Photo by Pamela Raith on Flickr

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