BWW Reviews: Ross Petty's THE LITTLE MERMAID is Perfection
Ross 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 RossPetty.com
Photo Credit: Racheal McCaig