Camden Fringe review: Pondwife is joyful feminist retelling of The Little Mermaid

Holly Norrington and Ted Lamb perform Pondwife. Picture: Will Vickers

Holly Norrington and Ted Lamb perform Pondwife. Picture: Will Vickers - Credit: Archant

For any woman who grew up in the 1990s, the tagline of this Camden fringe play appeals instantly: Feminism. Mermaids. 90s music.

For me, it was a ticklist of things I adore. I was sold before it had even begun.

But the tagline and the play’s title, Pondwife, did not reveal much about what I was about to see as I sat down in a dingy room at the Camden People’s Theatre near Euston.

And to be honest, even after watching the hour-long show, I remained a little confused about what I had just seen.

But theatre duo Holly&Ted ensure that their satirical retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid is just clear enough to impart their fun, feminist allegory.


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Using just a bathtub, performers Holly Norrington and Ted Lamb cleverly tell the story of a 15-year-old mermaid who discovers music – and herself - for the first time.

It’s a sweet tale of female friendship that uses minimal props to great visual effect, and the dialogue is jam-packed full of references to classic 90s cheesy pop tunes.

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At times, the story gets lost amidst the frenzied, sparkly surrealism – resulting in my bemusement as the lights went up.

But in all, Pondwife is an hour’s joyful celebration of cheesy pop, feminism and nostalgia that will leave audiences with a befuddled smile throughout.

Rating: 3/5 stars.

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