Ariel with her long red tresses, the handsome prince, expert singing and dancing —it’s all there in Disney’s The Little Mermaid at Northern Stage. It’s a family-friendly extravaganza for the holiday season, with strong leads and a talented and versatile ensemble cast.
David Arsenault’s colorful set is, as always, ingenious, and there are enough special effects to keep even the most tech-hardened kids entertained. The actors are constantly on the move and turn up in unexpected places throughout the theater, leaning in to my (and your) grandchildren in the audience, much to the kids’ surprise and delight.
Standout performances include Saidu Sinlah as Sebastian, a crab assigned to keep watch over Ariel (Dani Westhead). Sinlah leads some of the best of the play’s musical numbers. Once introduced, you will crave more scenes with Leslie Becker as Ursula. Something in me always likes a villain, and Becker’s is dastardly and satisfying. Ben Liebert as Scuttle provides comic relief and mangled wordplay. And there is tap dancing.
The divine Leslie Becker as Ursula
But the glory of this production is in the costumes. Aaron Patrick DeClerk has invented innumerable denizens of the sea that are fun to look at, even more fun to guess at and recognize. Slithery electrified eels. Multiple mermaids. Soaring seagulls. Look for the amazing, swaying jellyfish. A tip of the hat to Robert Pickens, the hair and wig designer, whose creations top off the costumes with perfection.
While the show continues through January 7, 2018, this past Sunday’s matinee performance was sold out. Best to take a headcount and get your tickets soon.
(Featured photo, above, is of Flounder (Margaret Finley) and Ariel (Dani Westhead). All photos by Rob Strong, used with permission of Northern Stage.)
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