REVIEW: Unfortunate at Birmingham Hippodrome

Having made its Brummie debut back in 2019, in the 200-seat Patrick Studio, the sassy, opinionated and down right dirty cast of Unfortunate - the untold story of Ursula the Sea Witch are back in the second city.

Unfortunate is a parody musical, based on the story of the Little Mermaid, and in a Wicked-esque style, details the backstory to one of animations most loved villains. Shows in this style tend to fall into one of two very distinct camps - brilliant or horrific. Fortunately for the audience, this show was 100% in the 'brilliant' camp.

Taking the basis of the story arc of the Little Mermaid, this production begins with a pre-Disney introduction and travels right through to an end point which explores the tale's aftermath in greater detail than the 1989 big screen movie ever did. We see Ursula go from a newbie, trying to fit in with societies norm's, to a self professed demi-God who falls in love herself, interwoven with some outstanding acting and some astonishing vocals.

Shawna Hamic takes on the role of Ursula and delivers her character with all the sass, sexiness and authority that Pat Carroll did over 30 years ago. The villain is larger than life and Grant's performance equalled that, with just enough 'Disney' to give context, but with a good amount of individuality to stop her interpretation becoming a tribute act.

Hamic's powerful, matriarchal persona lent itself perfectly to the shows vibe and she had the audience in the palm of her hand from the moment she entered stage left.

Similarly, River Medway took Ariel from one of animations most recognisable red-head's and turned her into a slightly dim Essex girl with such precision it pushed boundaries...but stayed just on the right side of 'wtf'. Supported by her Prince Eric, Jamie Mawson, the duo gave us almost none-stop innuendo and real belly laughs for just under 90 minutes.

Special mention should go to the hardest working crab/chef/sidekick in the business, Allie Dart, who flew between roles with ease and didn't miss a beat!

I can't stress enough just how brilliant this show is. Last time round, I said Unfortunate felt like it needed to be bigger than it was - and this is the show's time to shine. It's become the lavishly produced West End staple it should be and it needs to find a place in the capital.

It's hilarious, raunchy, loud and vocally strong - and, most importantly, it's hopefully a clear sign of more shows of a similar style being toured around the UK, because we're absolutely ready for it.

Unfortunate plays at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 13th April. For more information or to get your tickets, head to

Following its run in Birmingham, the show plays at Wolverhampton Grand from July 11th-14th. For more information, visit

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