Review: 'The Little Mermaid' At SCC Is Sheer Delight For The Kids And The Adults - 27 East

Arts & Living

Arts & Living / 1547526

Review: 'The Little Mermaid' At SCC Is Sheer Delight For The Kids And The Adults

icon 2 Photos

"The Little Mermaid" with Adam Fronc as Sebastian the crab and Hannah Faye Huizing as Ariel.

"The Little Mermaid" with Kimet Speed as Ursula the Octopus and and Hannah Faye Huizing as Ariel the mermaid. DANE DUPUIS

By Lorraine Dusky on Oct 13, 2019

A rebellious teenager with burbling hormones, a chance meeting with a prince when she just happens to save his life, a raft of amusing friends, an evil witch — all the plot points of a Hans Christian Anderson tale by way of Disney come together in the Center Stage production of “The Little Mermaid” currently running at the Southampton Cultural Center.

Yet since the nubile teenager is a mermaid with a tail, and the prince a human with legs (who conveniently loves the sea), choppy waters ensue, as dating outside your species is always inconvenient. Especially when one’s disapproving father happens to be the Triton, King of the Sea, and the mermaid in question is his youngest daughter Ariel, with a musical gift that will surely be her downfall.

Never mind, of course true love succeeds over such troublesome odds — this is a fairy tale, after all. Under the sprightly and strong direction of Bethany Dellapolla the cast of 20 brings the show to its energetic happy ending exuding warmth and zip. Though Dellapolla, an actress, has a rich resumé in directing elsewhere, she is new to taking the reins at SCC. Here we remember her as the unforgettable, scene-stealing Mrs. Potts last year in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.”

Hannah Faye-Huizing as Ariel brings her A-game to this role with her clear soprano voice and professional training, paired with Michael Drozd as Prince Eric.

But the real scene-stealer here — actually there are two — is Adam Fronc as the master-minding friend of Ariel and master-of-ceremonies throughout, Horatio Thelonius Ignatius Crustaceous Sebastian. Surely he is an Alaskan King Crab, in a fire-engine red outfit from top hat to patent-leather shoes. Fronc plays the role with all the ham (or shall I say chowder?) and energy of any wily-but-winsome crab. He is outrageously wonderful and his voice has never been better. Fronc has been in numerous Center Stage plays at SCC and other nearby theaters, but this is his outstanding role.

The other not-to-miss performance is that of Kimet Speed, who dives into the role of the wicked sister of Triton, Ursula the Octopus. She’s brilliant as the villain in this story, showing off both her strong mezzo soprano vocal talents and considerable acting chops.

Poor Ursula had been tossed aside as potentate of the briny deep because she was female, wouldn’t you know? And so her younger brother Triton — why he was only a tot at the time! —unfairly inherited the role. Yet Ursula retains witchery powers and can grant “poor unfortunate souls” like Ariel a few days on land, with legs too boot! Of course there is a price to pay — her voice. She’ll get it back however, if when voiceless she can persuade her love to kiss her in three days. What’s the problem? Ursula tells her “on land it’s much preferred for ladies not to say a word …”

Other notables in the cast are Michaal Lynn Schepps, delightful and funny as Chef Louis as she prepares a feast of all matter of sea creatures; 12-year-old Alexandra Behmoiram as Jetsam, one of the electric eels that swarm around Ursula; Jonathan Fogarty as the irrepressible Scuttle the Seagull, and Zoey Engeldrum as Flounder, Ariel’s friend, who is tossed aside like last week’s sashimi once Prince Eric comes on the scene.

If I’m being overly aquatic with the vocabulary, blame the show! Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater’s infectious lyrics are hilarious throughout to Oscar-winner Alan Menken’s music. Squid pro quo, anyone?

While some of the solo voices might be a tag ragged, together as a chorus they are in sync and belt out memorable numbers such as “Kiss the Girl” and “Under the Sea” where “the seaweed is always greener in somebody else’s lake” with gusto.

Though the troupe always works with a limited budget, the staging here is effective, with rich blue-green swaths of fabric as a backdrop, and the costumes (Katrina Lovett) are plenty sea worthy. Okay, the show’s got a few rough edges, but some outstanding numbers make up for that.

Threaded throughout the story is a message of accepting people outside your normal frame of reference, making “The Little Mermaid” a tale for today’s times. Take the kids — who will love it — and sit back and enjoy!

Center Stage presents “The Little Mermaid” through October 27. Tickets are $30 ($15 for students). Performances are Thursdays, through Saturdays at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. The Southampton Cultural Center is at 25 Pond Lane, Southampton. Dinner theater packages are available at Plaza Café and Le Chef. Brunch theater packages are available at Edgewater and Fellingham’s before Sunday matinees. To purchase tickets visit scc-arts.org or call 631-287-4377.

You May Also Like:

Great Art for a Great Cause: 23rd Annual Box Art Auction

The 23rd Box Art Auction benefiting East End Hospice is on Saturday, August 24, from ... 24 Jul 2024 by Staff Writer

Prokofiev’s 'Peter and the Wolf' In Sag Harbor

The Sag Harbor Community Band will perform Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” on Tuesday, ... 23 Jul 2024 by Staff Writer

Bedside Reading on the East End

This weekend, Bedside Reading, the hotel amenity that places a wide variety of complimentary books ... by Staff Writer

‘Stirring the Pot’ With Florence Fabricant and Friends

Guild Hall’s popular series of Sunday culinary conversations, “Stirring the Pot,” return this summer to ... 22 Jul 2024 by Staff Writer

Broadway's Melissa Errico Performs at SAC

Southampton Arts Center will present a special concert — “Melissa Errico Sings the Summer” on ... by Staff Writer

Costantino Nivola's Works Come to The Drawing Room

The Drawing Room will host an exhibition of works by Costantino Nivola (1911-1988) from July ... by Staff Writer

‘Couples Squared’ Opens at Southampton Arts Center

Southampton Arts Center’s “Couples Squared,” an exhibition curated by Phyllis Tuchman, opens with a reception ... by Staff Writer

Jazz, Hip-Hop and R&B Luminary Robert Glasper Takes the Guild Hall Stage

Guild Hall will host Grammy Award-winning pianist Robert Glasper on Monday, July 29, at 7 ... by Staff Writer

Six Artists in the Garden at The Leiber Collection

The Leiber Collection will present “Six Artists in the Garden” on Saturday, July 27, at ... by Staff Writer

World Premiere of Michael Stephen Brown’s ‘The Lotos-Eaters’ Comes to BCMF

Pianist and composer Michael Stephen Brown will present the world premiere of his own composition “The Lotos-Eaters” for flute, cello, piano and percussion at the 41st season of the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival. The concert will take place on Thursday, August 1, at 6 p.m. at Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church. This piece is commissioned by the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival. Besides the world premiere work, Brown will also perform Mozart’s Piano Quartet in E-flat major, K. 493. Entitled “Mozart Reflections,” the program will also include Mozart’s Quartet in A major, K. 298 as well as “And Legions Will Rise.” “I was ... by Staff Writer