Brisbane review - The Little Mermaid: a high quality production
By David Wilson
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater
Book by Doug Wright
Production Director Deian Ping
Musical Director Julie Whiting
Choreographer Julianne Burke
Brought to you by Queensland Musical Theatre
Twelfth Night Theatre
Tickets can be purchased now and start from $45. Season runs until 22 October.
Right: Sophie Mason as Ariel
In a magical kingdom beneath the sea, the beautiful young mermaid, Ariel, longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. This well-known and much-loved musical, based on the Hans Christian Anderson story and the Disney film, has been brought to life by the first rate production team at Queensland Musical Theatre.
It can often be a challenge to deliver a show where the story, characters, songs and music are so well known to every audience member. The terrific trio of Deian Ping, Julie Whiting and Julianne Burke did a fabulous job of putting together an overall high quality production that delighted the very appreciative and engaged audience.
The orchestra was outstanding, so much so that they received resounding applause before the curtain was even raised. A simple yet very effective set provided for seamless transitions and importantly allowed the wonderful choreography and fabulous costuming to be showcased. While the quality and clarity of the sound system was not quite up to the same high standard, it did not greatly detract from an overall excellent experience.
Deian Ping and Julianne Burke have expertly managed a very large cast in achieving the full spectacle and visual wonder without the stage appearing unnecessarily busy - no mean feat. This was no doubt assisted by the great depth of talent that was on show.
Sophie Mason excelled as Ariel, brilliantly capturing the essence of the character. Her vocals were flawless throughout, and her performance of the classic “Part of Your World” was outstanding. Her ability to hold the spotlight while solo on stage was matched by her chemistry with the well-cast Aaron Anderson as Prince Eric whose appropriately understated yet charming performance was very strong.
Matthew McKenzie enthusiastically embodied the role of Sebastian perfectly. In particular, his performance of “Under the Sea”, in which he lead the entire cast in what was a high-energy visual triumph, was a showstopper.
Skye Shultz as Scuttle and Alessia Lily Monteverde as Flounder were both excellent. Shultz brought the perfect amount of ‘madcap’ to the role, and their physicality was outstanding, while Monteverde’s versatility was particularly evident in “She’s in Love”.
The larger-than-life character of Ursula was absolutely inhabited by Rhona Bechaz, whose 100% sass was on full show, particularly in “Poor Unfortunate Souls”.
Steve Beck did a great job as King Triton, with his vast stage experience evident throughout. His characterisation was excellent, particularly in the softer, reflective moments.
The six Mersisters (Samantha Hancock, Constanza Acevedo, Stacie Hobbs, Emma Parkinson, Catherine Schwarten and Kiana Tann) were each excellent in their own right, demonstrating their versatility in numerous roles throughout the performance.
Andrew McArthur played Grimsby to a tee, and his one-on-one moments with Prince Eric were particularly well done.
Roh Whittaker was a crowd-favourite as Chef Louis, with their hilariously animated and riotous performance of “Les Poissons” one of the shows stand-outs.
This very large group of leads were well supported by Aden Lowry and Isaac Cain as the appropriately creepy Flotsam and Jetsam, the versatile Jonathon Taufatofua as Pilot, as well as some excellent dancers and a deep ensemble.
There certainly was a lot of talent on stage, appropriately showcased in the experienced hands of a quality production team. I thoroughly enjoyed The Little Mermaid by Queensland Musical Theatre and I encourage you to see it.