The Little Mermaid by Upper Dublin High School

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The Little Mermaid – Upper Dublin High School in Fort Washington, PA

April 12, 2016

Review by: Abbie Presti of Central Bucks High School West

Waves of color, splashes of sparkles, and soft, sweet voices filled Upper Dublin High School’s auditorium during their production of The Little Mermaid.

This classic Disney tale spins the story of Ariel, a mermaid living under the sea, whose only wish is to experience the life of a human. When she rescues a mysterious prince thrown overboard during a storm, Ariel discovers love, opportunity, and the limits her father imposes upon her.

Upper Dublin’s performance of The Little Mermaid showcased an enthusiastic and energized ensemble with an obvious desire to bring smiles to the audience. Every character lit up on stage, sometimes even literally with bright and dazzling costumes. The whole cast maintained a high level of energy throughout the performance and never missed an opportunity to showcase their original and enthusiastic expressions.

The show was carried by the sweet and romantic voice of the innocent and clumsy Ariel, played by Jessica Anninos. Prince Eric, played by Michael Reed Price, matched this talent with his rich and powerful baritone and charming demeanor. Steven Aronow’s performance of the comical and anxious Sebastian was complete with his perfectly maintained Jamaican accent and crab-like physicality.

Other notable performers include Ursula, played by Gabriella Bloom, who stunned audiences with her powerful and spine-chilling rendition of “Poor Unfortunate Souls”. Caroline Juelke portrayed Ariel’s friendly Flounder with a perfectly fishy physicality and jaw-dropping vocals in the song “She’s In Love”. The supporting characters of The Little Mermaid strengthened the “under the sea” immersion through their consistent flowing and fishy movements. Every actor had a certain physicality central to his or her character whether it was scuttling or swimming.

The marketing and publicity of the production cannot go unnoticed. The show’s promotion and advertisement was evident through social media, posters, pins, and t-shirts. With eye-catching makeup that captured the underwater qualities of different sea creatures perfectly and a pit orchestra that backed the actors with a whimsical and joyful tone, this was a show not to be missed. While there were some minor sound issues throughout the production, overall, the sound was very easily understood and balanced well.

Upper Dublin High School’s production of The Little Mermaid was thoroughly enjoyable and uplifting. It definitely is better “under the sea”!

 

Review by: Cynthia Reynolds of Bordentown Regional High School

Overflowing with colorful sea creatures, mermaids, music and a mélange of melodious voices, Upper Dublin High School brought the magic of Disney’s The Little Mermaid to sea life.

With book by Doug Wright, music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, The Little Mermaid opened on Broadway in January of 2008, running for 685 performances. The musical is based off of the 1989 beloved childhood animated film of the same name and the famous fairytale by Hans Christian Anderson and includes all the classic songs like, “Kiss the Girl” and “Under the Sea”.

Jessica Anninos brought beauty and innocence to the role of Ariel. She lured the audience to be a part of her world and her journey to find true love with a voice as clear and sparkling as water. Michael Reed Price as Eric perfectly complimented Anninos with his princely pitch and handsome harmonies.  He exuded charm and charisma in numbers like “Her Voice” and “One Step Closer”.

Gabriella Bloom was magnificently menacing as the sea witch Ursula. Bloom convincingly cast a spell over the audience with her verbose vocals, imposing movements and impeccable acting. The crowd’s favorite crustacean, Sebastian, was wonderfully portrayed by Steven Aronow. While saddled with the most difficult prop, Aronow’s accent, presence, energy and comedic skills never faltered.

The vocals by the entire cast were wonderfully uniform and as seamless as a school of fish, every vocal a keeper and not one bad catch in the net.  Particularly noteworthy was Luda Gordynskiy as the silly seagull, Scuttle, and Caroline Juelke as the goofy guppy, Flounder.   Also, giving fine ensemble performances were the Mersisters, the Gulls and electric eels, Flotsam and Jetsam, played by Cynthia Wambua and Riley Tollen.

The only shortcoming to this very vocally strong show was the sparse set.  However, good makeup, pit orchestra and sound, which was all student produced, made up for any shortcomings.

It was smooth seas for Upper Dublin’s cast of The Little Mermaid with leagues of fun for sailors and land-lubbers alike!

 

 

 

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