‘THE LITTLE MERMAID’ LIVE! Review
‘THE LITTLE MERMAID’ LIVE! (ABC)(2019)
In the early 1990s, Walt Disney films made a resurgence into animation with a group of movies that captivated a particular generation of young children.
With non-animated versions of Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Aladdin all hitting theaters, it was time for the 4th “Princess” to get a twisted turn at a re-release.
This time Disney strayed away from the cinema and went directly to your TV screen with a production of broadway-inspired live performances of the songs interweaved with an airing of the 1989 original film.
From the opening number, introducing Graham Phillips (CockBlockers) as Prince Eric to the final curtain, there weren’t many noticeable flaws. Except for the occasional pitchy note and delay coming back from commercial breaks.
The choreography was clean and the costume department obviously had their hands full with the wardrobe. Paying special attention to the massive octopod arms dangling from the Cecaelia.
Amidst Queen Latifah’s (Juice, Made In America) attire was the lack of attention to Shaggy’s costume as Sebastian the Crab. Who if I wasn’t told in advance, would have assumed he was a tube of 1950’s lipstick or the kool-aid man after a 28-Day Keto transformation.
Ariel (Auli’i Cravalho) flopped on in a custom tail made with a darker tone of green than what was illustrated in the original film, as was her red hair which on live TV was more of a maroon or burgundy is supposed to aerials bright red strawberry hair.
Despite Shaggy’s performance of ‘Under the Sea’ which was arranged perfectly for the daycare center on a cruise ship through a sewage plant. Cravalho’s rendition of “Part of Your World” was a bold performance that resonated throughout the entire production. I considered a success despite the offset pitches of particularly high notes in the last chorus.
Since the birth of live airings of tv/movie classics has included massive failures (Rent, Peter Pan) as well as successes (Grease, Hairspray) it is easy to see why the producers of ‘The Little Mermaid’ decided to focus mainly on the songs and leave the rest of the plot up to a more casual viewing of the original. Via trial & error, it has been learned that trying too hard to re-construct as supposed to re-make has led more to death by 1,000 blood-sucking leeches rather a bountiful feast at a Seafood Buffett.
Let’s just hope they followed suit with the concession stand condiments and didn’t try too hard by making their own ketchup. If so, the audience might have been subject to Shaggy with a burgundy wig of long locks, rapping about Jamaican tomatoes laced with marijuana.
THE LITTLE MERMAID LIVE! delivers where it’s supposed to while the producers of the musical numbers stay behind the boundary lines. Keeping the integrity of the original while treating both young and old generations alike to a different perspective of what it’s like to be in THEIR world.
I Give LIVE LITTLE MERMAID 6/10 crabs.