For full disclosure The Little Mermaid is probably my most beloved Disney film of all time, and Ursula the Sea Witch my favourite of all the Disney villains, so one thing was for sure, I was either going to absolutely love, or absolutely hate Fat Rascal’s latest comedy musical offering Unfortunate: The Untold Story of Ursula The Sea Witch.
Just as Wicked tells the story of the Wicked Witch from a different perspective, Unfortunate gives us the story of Ursula that Disney didn’t tell us. Like how twenty years before Ariel wanted to see ‘em dancin’ Ursula was poised to marry King Triton, until she was falsely accused of a crime and banished from Atlantica.
Back to Ariel, who in Fat Rascal’s re-imagining is the kind of vacuous, looks-obsessed teenager you can expect to find on any series of Love Island, and we discover that Ursula is trying to help the mer-princess rather than harbouring any malicious intent.
Unfortunate is wickedly funny, and the audience are laughing from start to finish. A comedy score that’s damn near perfection means that this musical never misses a beat. Robyn Grant plays Ursula like a 1950’s movie star vamp, while Katie Well’s Ariel will have you creased in two with a hilarious performance.
Allie Munro’s Sebastian (who is now Irish) is equally as funny, and Steffan Rizzi gives us an exceptional King Triton, as well as a delightful Scuttle. Jamie Mawson once again shows that he can turn his hand to any role, playing a variety of characters with aplomb and demonstrating outstanding vocals.
This may very well be a comedy musical, but it very cleverly weaves in some important themes, Ursula is an outcast and is ridiculed for the way she looks. It’s comments on society do not go unnoticed and there’s a sense that Fat Rascal have truly outdone themselves here, it is their best work to date without a doubt.
There’s nothing fishy about this tale, Unfortunate is a magnificent piece of musical theatre. An incredible score, plenty of laughs and cast that clearly loves the work they are producing. Fat Rascal have already garnered an impressive reputation, but this may just be the musical that puts them firmly on the map.