THEATER REVIEW: ‘The Little Mermaid’ @ Weathervane Playhouse by Lisa DeBenedictis

Through Sun 8/13

Weathervane Playhouse bills itself as a community theater but the community puts on productions that are often as praiseworthy as equity presentations.

The Little Mermaid, based on a Hans Christian Anderson story first published in 1837is a coming-of-age story about Ariel (Sarah Craven), the youngest mermaid daughter of King Triton (Michael Gault), who yearns for adventure and new vistas.

Ariel longs to learn more about life on land and often ventures out, accompanied by her best friends, a seagull (Jesse Oyster) and a faint-hearted flounder (Connor Powers), to the forbidden surface. On one of these visits she rescues and falls for a human, Prince Eric (Sam Fujikawa).

Determined to reunite with her prince, Ariel makes a dangerous deal with the sea witch Ursula (Alexandra Hartenstein) to become human for three days. This tale of the bond between fathers and daughters and the yearning for forbidden love is one that has universal likability and leaves audiences humming remembrances of some favorite hits like “Part of Your World,” “Under the Sea,” “Poor Unfortunate Souls” and “Kiss the Girl.”

Music director Kim Shama-Hanna, director Chris Simmons,and choreographer/assistant director Megan Gargano help produce a winsome summer presentation with the help of a beautiful set by Richard Morris, Jr., and fabulously inventive costumes by designer Jasen J. Smith.

Alexandra Hartenstein is a glowering villainess, accompanied by ominous cohorts, eels, Flotsam and Jetsam. (Libby Duncan and Lexi Majoros) The three have evil intentions but rockin good voices and grooves.

Sebastian the crab (Jonathan Merechant), Ariel’s music teacher and confidante, is amusing and does an awesome job dodging the advances of Chef Louis (Mathew Hogan) who does his best to capture the crab as a main course.

Sam Fujikawa and Sarah Craven have promising futures on Broadway or Hollywood as romantic leads. The whole cast is young but engaging. The production needed to work out some sound problems but the run should be sold out as a summer diversion that delights young and old.


[Written by Lisa DeBenedictis]

[Photo by Aimee Lambes]




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