by Shirley Lorraine
Moorpark’s “Mermaid” Enchanting
High Street Arts Center in Moorpark has done it again. The company consistently brings high-quality talent to their stage with every production. Now open is the enchanting stage extravaganza The Little Mermaid.
This Disney adaptation, based on Hans Christian Anderson’s timeless tale, is a lively, colorful, fun romp under the sea with a happy ending. With book by Doug Wright and music by eight-time academy-award winning composer Alan Menken, audiences will exit the theater smiling and singing.
Anderson’s morality play directly targets children of all ages – mind your parents, be true to yourself, listen to your friends, beware of unscrupulous figures and weather the struggles of life.
Ariel, the youngest of seven daughters to King Triton, is a free spirit with a golden voice and a penchant to obey her desires rather than her father. She witnesses a shipwreck and is immediately smitten by a handsome sailor who turns out to be a Prince. She decides that what she really wants is to be human.
A typical teenager, however, she rebels against her father’s strong and protective hand in order to pursue her dream. Against the advice of her closest friends, Sebastian the Crab and Flounder, a young fish who admires her, Ariel succumbs to the magic of her evil aunt, Ursula. Along the way lessens are learned and misunderstandings are mended.
She discovers the pitfalls of pursuing the unknown as she fights to adapt. However, in true Disney fashion, her dreams are ultimately realized, and everyone lives happily ever after.
This production is outstanding. The cast is superb. They are aided by a spectacular setting designed by Chris Bell, complimentary choreography by Wendy Babb and creative, colorful costuming by Barbara Mazeika and Raquel Karoly. In short, it is a full package of visual delight. Director Dana Marley-Kolb uses the entire theater and all the actors to excellent advantage.
Ariel is delightfully portrayed by Charlotte Green; whose beautiful voice and graceful movements bring her character most believably to life.
Her sidekick, Flounder, is embodied by young Theo Chambers, who is one to watch. His clear voice, excellent diction and enthusiastic performance made him a stand-out.
The pivotal role of the irascible crab Sebastian is held by the scene-stealing Vincent Perez, who displays comedic acumen, dancing and vocal skills par excellence.
There are almost too many outstanding performances to mention because they are all top-notch. Notable performances are given by David Gilchrist as Grimsby, Cameron Liljervist as Prince Eric, John Gaston as King Triton (who doubled as musical director), Erin Fagundes as seagull Scuttle (a tap-dancing power ball of energy), Noah Terry as Chef Louis and Alison Rosenblum as the evil Ursula the Squid.
The ensemble showcases many skills with numerous actors playing several roles.
Clearly the entire cast is having a blast being under the sea. The audience falls under the spell from the opening notes to the grand conclusion.
If you are looking for a production that will enchant young and seasoned alike, this one is it. The show runs through November 17 and is expected to sell out. Reserve your seats early.
The Little Mermaid, High Street Arts Center, 45 E. High Street, Moorpark. Tickets online at www.HighStreetArtsCenter.com. (805) 529-8700. Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 2:00 p.m.