Theatre review: Meow Meow's Little Mermaid

Edinburgh International Festival: Love ain't easy for a showgirl of gargantuan proportions: the world is falling apart, culture is saturated with debased images of romance and even the on-stage special effects have broken. Can a kamikaze diva ever hope to find happiness?

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Bittersweet, riotous and entirely uplifting, Meow Meow’s Little Mermaid uses Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale as the springboard for a poignant exploration of how ego and expectation can get in the way of human connection.

The show has all you expect from a Meow Meow production, including joyously precarious slapstick, gale-force audience participation and soaring, transporting renditions of songs ranging from Black’s Wonderful Life to Mina’s Parole, Parole, all beautifully supported by the Siren Effect Orchestra.

And while the performer’s trademark hysterical anxiety about the fragility of the spectacle of theatre is in full force, Little Mermaid takes us towards a gentler, sweeter space of inner vulnerability; indeed, it shows how the two spheres overlap. In a moment of anxiety, Meow Meow fears that her entire carnivalesque performance career has not been a mission to share beauty, laughter and understanding but instead an absurd, ramshackle spectacle: maybe she’s been “not saving but clowning”.

This show proves once more that the two are gloriously compatible.

Until 17 August. Today 10:30pm.