I took my Wee One to see the Broadway musical “The Little Mermaid” last night…and it was gorgeous!! We both loved it so much!! Such a beautiful show – I loved the new songs that were featured, the sets and costumes were stunning, and the fact that they kept it so true to the movie made my heart super-happy. The two of us cuddled and held hands in our seats, singing and dancing along…it was probably not that thrilling for those seated around us, but we had a brilliant time! Yaaa!
The reviewer for MySA.com didn’t enjoy the production as much as I did…perhaps I just went on a better night:
Before “The Little Mermaid” starts, the scrim that hangs in front of the set seems to shimmer and bubble thanks to a water-themed projection, and the subtle water sounds can be heard.
It’s an enchanting beginning. The pre-show reminder to turn off any electronic devices — or, in “Mermaid” terms, any “shell phones” — promises a lot of fun, too.
The show doesn’t 100 percent live up to all that, though it does at times.
The musical, which kicks off the 2015-’16 Broadway in San Antonio season at the Majestic Theatre, is based on Disney’s much-adored animated adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. It is built around Ariel (Alison Woods),a strong-willed mermaid whose fascination with humankind is anathema to her father Triton (Fred Inkley), the king of the sea. His destruction of her altar of human detritus that she’s found in the waves makes her vulnerable to the skulduggery of Ursula the sea witch (the wonderful Jennifer Allen). Ursula, who happens to be the extremely estranged sister of Ariel’s father, offers her a deal that she should refuse. She will make it possible for Ariel to live as a human for three days so that she can pursue the handsome prince (Eric Kunze) she’s been mooning over. If he kisses her in that time, she can stay on the land. If not, she’ll be imprisoned by Ursula. The cost for this questionable service is Ariel’s crystalline voice.
The cast is appealing across the board. Woods brings Ariel to vivid life, and she has strong chemistry with Kunze. Their solo numbers are well-done, and the romance is fun to watch. Inkley is strong, too, capturing the conflicting emotions Triton feels as he struggles to figure out the one child he has who doesn’t seem to fit in. Melvin Abston is a lot of fun as Sebastian, the crab who is one of the few denizens of the deep who understands Ariel. And Allen is clearly having a blast as the eeeeeevil Ursula.
Putting the big swimming moments — Triton hunting for Ariel, Ariel rescuing the prince, and Ariel rising to the surface — up into the air is a terrific approach. And having the mermaids constantly undulating is a great visual, too.
Some of the show’s weakest points are those that evoke stronger screen-to-stage shows. The puppets and Vegas-y pageantry of “Under the Sea” calls to mind “The Lion King,” without as much imagination; and the song “Positoovity,” a tap-dancing seagull bit, as entertaining as it is, plays like a weak cousin of “Hakuna Matata” from “Lion King.” The scenes in the prince’s palace, where the staff fusses over the mute Ariel, isn’t nearly as much fun as similar scenes in “Beauty and the Beast.”
The show’s look, too, is hit-and-miss. The bauble-strewn setpieces that represent the ocean are a lesson in the importance of lighting: Sometimes, when the lighting is just right, they glitter and gleam; when it isn’t, they look chintzy and cheap. The effects aren’t terribly jaw-dropping, either, and Triton’s trident, which is supposed to be tremendously powerful, also looks pretty flimsy.
There were also some sound problems during the first act at Tuesday’s opening problem. That was especially disappointing during “She’s in Love,” in which Flounder (Marco Ramos), a fish with a crush on Ariel, couldn’t be heard most of the time.
Overall, the show is hit-and-miss.
The show is playing here in San Antonio for a few more days – if you have the chance, check it out!! It’s so much fun!!! (and those sets – dynamite!! It totally looked like Ariel was really swimming!!!) Yaaa!!!