AS opening claps of thunder startle the audience into attention and a forlorn Meow Meow sadly informs everyone “this is a show about happiness”, it is immediately apparent Meow Meow’s Little Mermaid shares very little with the G-rated Disney classic.
The alter-ego of 1997 WAAPA music theatre graduate Melissa Madden Gray, Meow Meow has been described as a ‘kamikaze cabaret diva’, although it is tricky to define whether it is performer or audience most at risk.
She seduces the crowd with ease using her comedy prowess, one moment targeting audience members and even pulling some up on stage, while the next putting her body on the line with aerial acrobatics and crowd surfing through UWA’s Octagon Theatre.
However, it is Meow Meow’s voice that impresses most in her quest for love, showing as part of this year’s PIAF season and backed by The Siren Effect Orchestra who, dressed as sailors, even gets to have fleeting crowd interaction.
Her reimaging of the Hans Christian Andersen fable is brought to life through a set list of original contemporary compositions by the performer, Megan Washington, Kate Miller-Heidke, Iain Grandage and Amanda Palmer plus covers from Black, Regina Spektor and Radiohead.
Songs including Making Love, The Mysterious Girl and Siren Song provide the soundtrack to following Meow Meow into the dark recesses of her mind; fishnets, gold corset, glitter eyeshadow, flippers, mermaid tail and all.
The 70-minute show is a glorious float over a sea of metaphors, euphemisms and puns and is a bubble full of surprises.
Meow Meow’s Little Mermaid is showing at Octagon Theatre, UWA until Sunday, February 28.