Theatre Mirror Reviews - "THE LITTLE MERMAID"

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Note: Entire Contents Copyright 2016 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

UnCommon Theatre's first musical of their 37th season is "The Little Mermaid" by Disney. The show is based on Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale as well as on "The Little Mermaid" , the 1989 Disney musical movie. 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 advisor, Sebastian's warnings that contact between merpeople and humans 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 belong to Ursula forever. The audience sits on the edge of their seats waiting to discover if true love will overcome all obstacles in its way? The Broadway adaptation opened in January, 2008. Director/choreographer Michael Hammond picks the best performers to fill all these roles and also creates inventive dances for them to perform while musical director Danielle Clougher taught the cast the melodic songs, plays lead keyboards and conducts a topnotch eight piece orchestra. Their combined expertise and the talent of this huge cast wins them a thunderous standing ovation at the close of the performance.

Leading this cast as Ariel is Cara DiPietro. She captures this vibrant character perfectly. Her phenomenal voice is heard in "The World Above", the emotion packed "Part of Your World", and "Beyond My Wildest Dreams" with Carlotta. Her acting is superb, too. The most intricate and melodic number is the quartet of "If Only" sung with Eric, Triton and Sebastian. Cara excels in any role I have seen her in and this is one more feather in her cap. Prince Eric is excellently played by Matthew Neary. He displays his singing prowess in "Fathoms Below", "Her Voice" and "One Step Closer." Cara and Matt have terrific chemistry together and they make the audience root for a happy ending.

Cat Sapovits steals many a scene as the malevolent, Ursula. She stops the show with her "Poor Unfortunate Souls" which closes Act 1. Cat also sings "Sweet Child" with Flotsam and Jetsam her oily and evil helpers played wonderfully by Caroline Kanevski and Abbi Lightbody. Another commanding presence is Nate April as King Triton who delivers a strong performance as the worried parent while scolding Ariel and then later defending her from Ursula's evil machinations. He sings "If Only" and sings "The World Above" as he warns Ariel of the dangers of humankind. The biggest scene stealer in this show is George Potenza as Sebastian. His "Under the Sea" stops the show in its tracks and then turns into a wild and colorful dance routine. George also sings "Kiss the Girl", a calypso style song when he urges Eric to kiss Ariel. He has good comic timing and wins many laughs along the way.

The two most comic numbers in the show are Positoovity" sung by Scuttle and "Les Poissons" sung by Chef Louis. This number is reminiscent of "Be Our Guest." They both turn into wild and crazy dance numbers which win prolonged applause. Martin Howarth is wonderful as Scuttle with his many malapropisms. Eric Holts is very funny as Chef Louis. Gabriel Corey is excellent acting as love sick character who is secretly in love with Ariel. He struts his stuff as Flounder in "She's in Love", a 1950's number which he does with the mersisters. Jackson Corey as Grimsby sings "Fathoms Below" and has many comic moments as the worrywart protector of Eric. So for a trip under the sea and a splendid rendition of "The Little Mermaid", be sure to catch Uncommon Theatre's musical before time runs out. Kudos to all the performers who capture the hearts of a very appreciative audience.

THE LITTLE MERMAID (18 to 20 November)
Uncommon Theatre, Orpheum Theatre, 1 School St, Foxboro, MA
1(508)698-3098 or

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