Unicorn Mermaids do not exist. Or do they? Presented as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, The Birth of the Unicorn Mermaid proves that mythical creatures can be real…well, sort of. As Ophelia Sols throws the baby shower to end all baby showers, ideals of motherhood, and what makes a good mother or a bad mother begin to surface.
After being on a diet of sugar, salt and
glitter Ophelia Sol (Ruby Hughes) is ready to give birth to the first
ever Unicorn Mermaid. She can finally show up all her friends by having
the most unique and talented child that anyone has (and will) ever set
their eyes on. But first thing’s first: she needs to throw the best ever
While firmly set in the real world, Hughes adds an element of bizarreness with the inclusion of how Ophelia becomes
pregnant and the science behind her efforts. While we scoff at her
out-there plan, there is conviction in Ophelia’s theory so it ends up
feeling highly probably that it will work. This combining of two
different realities works quite well in setting the scene and the
However, the story itself seems to get stuck as it
ends up focusing more on how great this baby will be rather than trying
to go inside Ophelia’s frame of mind
and learn more about her reasons why. She comes across as vain and
spiteful and we never get more than a glimpse of her insecurities to be
able to connect with her more and understand why she is doing this.
The story fast-forwards
soon after the birth, where we are introduced to her daughter who
relays what it’s like to be growing up when you’re a little bit
different to everyone else. By splitting the story between the two
characters in a 50 minute show, The Birth of the Unicorn Mermaid spreads itself too thin as the characters are not given the time to fully develop.
Focusing on one of the characters – preferably Ophelia – and going
deeper into her insecurities and fears would have allowed for a more
biting commentary on society and the concept of who/what a mother is and should be.
Hughes has an outrageously great character in Ophelia and there are laughs to be had with her and with The Birth of the Unicorn Mermaid
but if it wants to be something more important and memorable, then it
needs to work on whose story this is and what the story is.
Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Season: until 1 October | Mon - Sun 8:30pm
Length: 50 minutes
Tickets: $32 Full | $28 Conc
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival