BWW Reviews: Ross Petty's THE LITTLE MERMAID is Perfection

BWW Reviews: Ross Petty's THE LITTLE MERMAID is PerfectionRoss Petty's latest "broken" fairytale pantomime is currently shaking the roof off of the Elgin Theatre. Petty and his team have re-imagined the Hans Christian Andersen tale into a two hour spectacle that the entire family can enjoy together.

Fans of the Disney movie should heed my warning that this isn't the beloved animated classic adapted for the stage, a subject that the cast puts forth on a platter before the "real" show ever beings. In a hilarious prologue which sets the tone for the rest of the evening, a clown fish and Sponge-Bob Square Pants' Canadian cousin (Sponge-Bill Triangle Pants) sing that "We can use it for free, cus' the lawyers agree, it's in the public domain!"

Although, based on the reactions I witnessed tonight, Torontonians may have a new favorite Mermaid, Angel, brought to life by the brilliant Chilina Kennedy. Kennedy has a voice which is smooth like velvet and that can tackle any song thrown in her direction. In this production she sings mostly pop music, but does it with such skill that I found myself preferring her version of the material over most of the originals.

Ross Petty, self-described as the Canadian Miley Cyrus, returns to the stage as the villain we love to hate. Petty is a true showman, and commands attention from his audience. When Petty is on stage, you can expect clever pun after pun, and at times it's hard to tell if he's engaged in the scene or exchanging banter with the five year old in the front row. Either way, he's always got you laughing.

The real standout star in this production, however, is neither the protagonist nor the villain - but Dan Chameroy, making his return to annual pantomime as "Plumbum." Chameroy plays the drag role in the style of Mama Rose from Gypsy (who's theme music he has claimed as his own) while somehow pulling off hilarious musical numbers such as "When I Grow Up" (made famous by the Pussy Cat Dolls.)

The narrative is creative, relevant, and cleverly designed to keep children and adults well entertained.

This production has something for everyone in the family: beloved characters for the children, pop music for the teens, and Rob Ford jokes for the grownups. Parents shouldn't worry - there's no inappropriate humor here. All of the adult jokes will fly right over the head of young theatre patrons.

This show is perfectly crafted, and is an absolute must for anyone in the city over the holiday season!

When and Where?

The Elgin Theatre

Now playing through January 4, 2013. Tickets available at

Photo Credit: Racheal McCaig

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Alan Henry

Alan is a third year undergraduate student at York University, in Toronto. He has had a passion for the performing arts ever since he saw the original production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at the Princess of Wales Theatre. Alan has eleven years of intensive dance training under his belt, and in 2006 was the Canadian National Ballroom Champion in his age category. As a performer, Alan has been seen on stage at the Bathurst Street Theatre (now the Randolph Theatre), The FLATO Markham Theatre, The Leah Posluns Theatre, The Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts, and many more.

Alan first started blogging about theatre in 2011 with his now defunct blog, Broadway Toronto. In March 2013, Alan joined the team at BroadwayWorld Toronto and continued his foray into arts journalism. In February of 2014, Alan became the Senior Editor for the Toronto division of – and since then has expanded the regional coverage to include much of Southern Ontario, as well as many of the smaller professional theatre companies in the city.

A long term theatre fan, Alan is grateful to be a part of the Toronto arts community in any capacity.

“I’m incredibly fortunate that I’ve found a way to be involved with our arts community in the position that I have. The Toronto theatre community is made up of some of the kindest and friendliest people I know – and I look forward to serving the community by continuing the high standard of coverage expected of BroadwayWorld.”

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