Presented by Northern Light Theatre Company
Reviewed Friday 8th October 2021
The Northern Light Theatre Company’s production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid burst on to the stage in a flurry of colour and underwater shenanigans. As we all know, Disney is famous for its animal sidekicks and Disney’s The Little Mermaid has always sat at the pinnacle with not one, two, three or four but five sidekicks who more than steal the show and capture our hearts. Whether you connect with the crazy and flamboyant Scuttle (Michelle Davy), the lovable and loyal Flounder (Harry Ince) the outspoken rule abiding Sebastian (Kristian Latella) or, if you are like me, then the villains Flotsam (Rhi Shapcott) and Jetsam (Jess Goc-ong) are more your style, there is excitement for everyone when your favourite hits the stage.
Now, as a person who grew up with Ariel being her favorite Disney Princess, and as an adult has been known to belt out Part of Your World as though it were an anthem at karaoke and Under the Sea never leaving my playlist, I can safely say I had really high expectations for this show. To quote Director Damon Hill “When we had the information night for this production, I emphasized the importance of the fun, the nostalgia and the emotional impact these movies have had on people for the past 86 year” I think he summed up all my expectations in that statement and the cast delivered the enthusiasm in spades. The show was a joy to watch, and I really had to contain myself to not sing and dance along with each musical number.
Ariel is no small character to master; her enthusiasm, naivety, and love for Prince Eric is not easily mastered, but Melaine Cowmeadow brings all of that to her portrayal of Ariel and it is captivating to watch. Deon Martino-Williams brings the sea-loving Prince Eric to life and captures the connection between his character and Ariel so well, with Frank Cwiertniak as Grimsby really boosting Martino-Williams’ performance with that fatherly figure type relationship between Prince Eric and Grimsby.
Unfortunately, King Triton did not have the big burly presence or wise stature that comes to mind when you picture him. However, Steve Mulady does well to hold his own amongst a sea of stand out performances. Last but not least is Ursula played by Karen Muller and I can honestly say her costume is what captures your eye first and then her stage presence keeps you wanting more. She plays the villain well and the interactions between herself and Flotsam and Jetsam her moray eels are delectable.
There are so many more characters I could mention and each and everyone was really enjoyable to watch with a special mention needing to go to John Broadley who made his stage musical debut on opening night at the young age of 75. Broadley was the life of the party and every scene he is in your eyes are instantly drawn to his enthusiasm.
The set was beautiful but, in my opinion, maybe somewhat understated and the set changes sometimes felt a bit clunky.
But all in all, a really fun night out for the family that shouldn’t be missed.
Reviewed by Tara Forbes-Godfrey
Venue: Shedley Theatre
Season: Until 23 October 2021
Tickets: $24 – $36
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