Northern Ballet’s Merlin Review

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton – until 4 December 2021

Reviewed by Joanna Huggett


My 12-year-old daughter Faye and I went to see the show, and we both found it utterly spellbinding. We thought the set was simple, but affective, and we particularly loved the moving trees and the sun. The costumes were also quite simple but affective, and we loved the use of colour. Particularly the mustard costumes for the solar kingdom’s army. We found the sword fighting with sticks particularly clever, and we loved the magical element brought across by merlin. The glowing tree and the lights carried by the dancers were particularly effective.

The music was lovely. Perfectly pitched so as not to take away from the dancing performances, but effortless and truly magical in parts. We found the lighting and the ambience of the theatre very comfortable.

In terms of performances, we felt that Morgan, played by Antoinette Brooks-Daw, and Merlin, played by Kevin Poeung, really stole the show. Excellent both technically and in terms of musicality and emotional performance. We also enjoyed the performances by Ygraine, played by Rachael Gillespie, and the Blacksmith, played by Minju Kang, and we loved the dragon puppet, played by Ashley Dixon.

The story line was relatively complicated, but we felt it was portrayed effectively by the dancers, and the acting was excellent. Overall, we absolutely loved the show. Having attended several ballet performances over the years at various theatres and by various companies, I found this to be the most interesting and original by far, and at no point did I feel bored or restless. I felt genuinely disappointed when it had finished. I will be sure to attend another production by the Northern Ballet if I ever get the chance.