The Little Mermaid: The “Under the Sea” World Vibrantly Graces the Live Stage

I grew up on Disney movies. Now that I have a four-year-old daughter, I thoroughly enjoy watching them with her and impressing her with my song knowledge. One of my favorites is The Little Mermaid. For those unfamiliar with the plot, the story follows a headstrong young mermaid whose dream is to live as a human on land. She falls in love with a human, Prince Eric, and will do anything, even go against her father’s warnings, to be a part of the prince’s world and follow true love.

Photo by Bruce Bennett

Photo by Bruce Bennett

Most of the movie takes place underwater and I was curious to see how they were going to portray an underwater world on stage. I was fascinated by the quick and realistic scene changes from ocean to land. The underwater swimming scenes were impressive and I was surprised with how the use of lighting, props, and flying ropes truly gave the effect of them swimming with the greatest of ease! I noticed right away that even when the sea characters were standing, they were moving their bodies in a way to show they were staying afloat in water. I appreciated the attention to even those small details. The cast was amazing, especially Alison Woods as Ariel, Jennifer Allen as Ursula, and Melvin Abston as Sebastian.

Photo by Bruce Bennett

Photo by Bruce Bennett

There were some significant changes from the movie, but they added to the experience in a positive way. There is a part about Ariel’s mother and her death that is completely glossed over in the movie. It helped to make more sense of the over-protective, King Triton. Another major change was that Ursula, the evil sea witch, is actually King Triton’s sister and Ariel’s aunt in the play. They also played up the fact that Flounder, Ariel’s best friend fish, has a major crush on her. There is a certain animosity between Ariel and her six sisters in the movie, but they were a lot more vindictive and jealous of Ariel in the performance, which made for some amusing scenes.

Theatre Under the Stars - Disney's "The Little Mermaid" at TUTS, September 2015.

Theatre Under the Stars – Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” at TUTS, September 2015.

One of the most memorable acts was the “Under the Sea,” performance. The vibrant visual perfectly matched the upbeat classic, which called for audience participation to help sing-along. Sebastian led the chorus of brightly colored characters as they tried to persuade Ariel why the ocean life is the best life. There were giant “floating” jellyfish, vibrantly colored sea creatures, and whimsical fish! Another brief, but extremely memorable and hilarious act was “Les Poissons” with Chef Louis (played by Jeff Skowron).

All in all, The Little Mermaid, was an entertaining experience. It’s a great show for adults and children alike. It’ll have you singing out loud or, at least, wanting to learn the words so you can join in. The show will only be running until this Sunday, so don’t miss your chance to see this Disney classic live!

***This post was written by the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Lindsey Adams.

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