Theatre Mirror Reviews-"The Little Mermaid"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2014 by Tony Annicone

"The Little Mermaid"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The second musical of North Shore Music Theatre's 59th season is the New England premiere of Disney's "The Little Mermaid". The show is based on the Danish fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson as well as on the 1989 Disney movie "The Little Mermaid". It tells the story of Ariel,a beautiful mermaid who dreams about becoming human after rescuing a handsome prince from drowning. This goes against her father King Triton and his adviser, Sebastian's warnings that contact between humans and merpeople is strictly forbidden. To become human she enlists the aid of the evil seawitch Ursula who decrees that she must kiss the prince in three days or Ariel's beautiful voice will be Ursula's forever. The audience sits on the edge of their seats waiting to discover if true love can overcome all obstacles? The Broadway adaptation opened in January, 2008. Director Michael Heitzman picks the best performers to fill these roles while choreographer A. C. Ciulla creates some inventive dance numbers for them to perform. Musical director Bruce Barnes taught the cast the melodic songs and conducts a superb 12 piece orchestra. One of the highlights of this musical is the special effects and the high flying characters. Their combined expertise wins them a spontaneous standing ovation at the end of the night, capturing the hearts of audiences of all ages.

Leading this cast is Adrienne Eller as the beautiful Ariel. She captures this vibrant character wonderfully. Adrienne's beautiful voice is heard in "The World Above", "Part of Your World", and "Beyond My Wildest Dreams" with Carlotta. The most intricate and melodic number is the quartet song "If Only" sung with Eric, Triton and Sebastian. Adrienne is a senior at NYU. Tall, dark and handsome Bruce Landry also shines as Prince Eric. He displays his strong singing prowess in "Fathoms Below", "Her Voice" and "One Step Closer". They have terrific chemistry together, making the audience root for a happy ending.

Kecia Lewis steals many scenes as the malevolent, Ursula. She stops the show with her "Poor Unfortunate Souls" which closes the first act. Kecia also sings "Sweet Child" with Flotsam and Jetsam. Another commanding presence is Mark Campbell as Triton who delivers a multilayered performance as the worried parent while scolding Ariel and later defending her from Ursula. He moves the audience to tears at his tender rendition of "If Only" three separate times and "The World Above". The biggest scene stealer of this show is J. Cameron Barnett as Sebastian. His "Under the Sea" mesmerizes the audience with his stunning voice and this turns into a wild and crazy colorful dance number. He also sings "Kiss the Girl" and is a master of comic timing, winning sustained laughter throughout the show.

The two most comical numbers in the show are "Positoovity" sung by Scuttle and "Les Poissons" sung by Chef Louis. They both turn into wild and crazy dance numbers that stop the show with their brilliant execution. Freddie Kimmel shines as Scuttle as does David Scott Purdy as Chef Louis. David last played the scene stealing Moonface Martin in "Anything Goes". Shawn Platzker struts his stuff in "She's in Love" the 1950's style number with Ariel's sisters. Daniel Edwards displays his strong singing voice in "Fathoms Below". Kudos to the whole cast on their dynamic singing and dancing, capturing the hearts of every member of the audience. So for a trip under the seas be sure to catch "The Little Mermaid" in its New England Premiere at North Shore Music Theatre. This is one of the must see musicals of the summer season.

"The Little Mermaid" (8 - 27 July)
@ 62 Dunham Road, BEVERLY MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide