A review of the weird and wonderful Mermaid Show performed by Ann Liv Young and her cast at The Arches, Glasgow. 1 April 2012.
The overwhelming stench of raw fish fills the air as the audience pile into the theatre room. They make their way to seats and put in the earplugs that were provided at the entrance doors. Ann Liv Young is resting in her pale green paddling pool submerged by water when we arrive; wearing only a mermaid tail bearing the rest of her body to the curious and confused spectators. Her version of the classic Disney animation ‘The Little Mermaid’ is raunchy, thought-provoking and slightly disturbing.
Whilst mermaids’ have been portrayed as intriguing, cheerful women in many films and modern stories; Young takes her audience on a journey in which these creatures are evil, sailor killing ‘whores of the sea,’ depicting the forgotten image from mythology and folktales.
The performance begins with ‘Cold as Ice’ by Foreigner blasting through the sound speakers. Being from New York herself, this was a very apt band to go for. Young is joined by three other cast members dressed as sailors in her piece. Everyone is still and a tension rises through the air as the audience anticipate the start of the show. Smoke creeps in and immerses the entire room as if we are too sailors on a boat watching a mermaid seduce one of our own kind.
Young’s work can be described as controversial, visionary, exhilarating and vulgar to those who attend. After singing along to songs such as “Made for You” and “Part of Your World” she then shocks and horrifies everyone by ripping apart raw fish with her mouth and spitting it at her revolted guests. This performance is not for the faint hearted.
She can be seen as eccentric at first glance but Ann Liv Young is in fact very clever. The performance takes the audience on a journey with her to feel sadness and despair for the unloved mermaid. It is a very original performance and is definitely one that leaves the viewers feeling uncomfortable and somewhat violated on their departure.
If you think you have a strong enough stomach it is a fascinating watch and is extremely entertaining.