THIS is not officially Northern Ballet’s Christmas show, although The Little Mermaid happens to be running at the Leeds Grand in December and is a show primarily for children.

Artistic director David Nixon’s new production has been touring since September 21 and will be back out on the road between March and May in Edinburgh, Milton Keynes and Leicester. Nevertheless, deep in the bleak midwinter chill of a Leeds lit up for the festive season, it is certainly fit for Christmas purpose.

It also forms Northern Ballet’s third world premiere of 2017, in the wake of Kenneth Tindall’s seriously sensual Casanova and Daniel de Andrade’s divisive The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas. There is always an extra expectation when Nixon parades a new premiere of his own, such has been the Canadian’s MBE-decorated contribution to the Leeds company, but such expectations are dented by The Little Mermaid. It turns out to be a fish out of water by comparison with his best work, where his narrative-driven ballets have enchanted with storytelling and visual panache alike.

Kimie Nakano’s design does not help: nautical, yes, but not nice on the eye and its palette of colours too industrial and drab to entrance children. Likewise, Hans Christian Andersen’s story does not engage emotionally, leaving The Little Mermaid as one of those shows with an overload of dancing to not enough effect and the ensemble doing too much looking on. Sally Beamish’s score disappoints too, and all in all this is no fairytale ending to Northern Ballet’s 2017.

The Little Mermaid, Northern Ballet, Leeds Grand Theatre, until Sunday. Box office: 0844 848 2700 or at