Review: Unfortunate at MAST Mayflower Studios, Southampton

Review: Unfortunate at MAST Mayflower Studios, Southampton

by Martin Brisland.

Fat Rascal Theatre’s Unfortunate: The Untold Story of Ursula The Sea Witch premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019 and was very well received. Now this bawdy and over the top comedy musical that takes its inspiration from the Little Mermaid returns updated and even better.

Forget the Disney version of this tale as this is definitely not aimed at children. In a similar way to how Wicked altered our perceptions of The Wizard of Oz, Unfortunate turns our attention away from Ariel and on to Ursula, the icon who has been wronged. It’s become a cult musical with a huge following with its body positivity message and biting satire on Disney stereotyping.

Ariel (played brilliantly by Miracle Chance) still plays an important role, but in this version she’s far from the brightest shell on the beach.

Ursula, cast out of Atlantica for a crime she didn’t commit, is brought back into the fold by former lover, King Triton not to hurt Ariel, but to help her.

Turns out Disney has got it wrong and Ursula is actually a hero in this boisterous lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers story.

The six strong cast are all excellent but would do well to allow the jokes time to land as opposed to rushing through the humour, which includes comments on Harry Styles.   

The songs are catchy and often come with a slight nod to the film that inspired it all. A stand-out number ‘We Didn’t Make It To Disney’ comments on their erasure of ‘undesirable’ characters.

Unfortunate, is crude and irreverent in its handling of The Little Mermaid plot – but it is all done with love. It may be a comedy musical, but it comes with some serious messages about body image, toxic masculinity and how we judge others. It allows us to have fun while simultaneously challenging us to think differently about important topics.

Elliotte Williams-N’Dure was superb and sassy as Ursula. George Whitty as King Triton had an operatic singing voice worthy of any stage.

The puppetry elements of the show help to bring the underwater world to life against an impressive set.

Hilarious and thought provoking, this excellent show is certainly worthy of a West End run and had a deserved standing ovation.


Unfortunate is at the MAST Mayflower Studios, Southampton until 17th September. Box office: 02380711833.

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