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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Flutsch

Unfortunate: The Untold Story of Ursula the Sea Witch

★★★★★


Review: Unfortunate, on tour throughout the UK until July 2024. Our reviewer attended the opening night of the Oxford tour on 23 April. Book here.

[Disclosure: Our reviewer received free tickets, and a free programme for the purposes of this review.]

 

Unfortunate

Unfortunate is the parody retelling of the classic tale of The Little Mermaid from the villain’s perspective.  The story follows iconic villain Ursula on her journey from banished outcast to powerful sea witch.  After its sell out premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019 and rave reviews across the board, Unfortunate is finally on its UK tour.

The Oxford leg of the Unfortunate tour opened last night, and it was glorious.  The show is loud, brash, very naughty, and a little bit crass.  The Oxford Playhouse has listed the age range as 16+ and I think this is right – it’s extremely and openly sexual – not just panto-style innuendo – but fully in your face - “masturbation, chemical peels and rage; it keeps you young.” – and that’s one of the tamer lines.

Unfortunate

I’m generally not a fan of musicals but Unfortunate is absolutely exceptional – everything is done to the highest standards of excellence and is completely over the top. 

Unfortunate

The casting is extraordinary with not one weak performance.  Indeed, many of the cast members are stars in their own right with Shawna Hamic of Orange is the New Black fame, in the lead role as Ursula.  Thomas Lowe, who has been a star of the stage since his teen years, plays Triton – the king of the sea.  The talent of these two actors is prodigious – their phenomenal singing voices elevated the already catchy songs and hilarious lyrics, to another level.  The song, I’m a Witch – will surely be worldwide hit.

Unfortunate

River Medway of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK fame does an exceptional job of playing Ariel. The supporting cast are all extraordinary – and each cast member makes an impact on the show.

Unfortunate

Watching Unfortunate is like being hit by a very loud, very glittery bus.  It goes from 0-100mph in 2 seconds, and stays that way until the very end.  It was so loud and flashy, and the dialogue was so fast that it took me about 15 minutes to find my bearings. 

Unfortunate

Once I’d recovered from the initial shock, I really began to enjoy it.  Although it’s loud, brash and vulgar – the show has a deeper mission; it brings fun and glamour to its more serious message of inclusion.

Unfortunate

This is not the show to go to if you’re feeling physically fragile or have a headache coming on. It’s also not a show for anyone who feels uncomfortable with open discussion of sexuality. But for everyone else – broaden your horizons and enjoy the exceptional performances in this remarkable show.

 

If you enjoyed reading this review, you might enjoy reading more posts about musicals or other posts about shows on at the Oxford Playhouse.

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