Mermaids and crabs and squids and fishies, oh my!
Equinox Theatre’s latest production took audiences under the sea as the troupe staged an adaptation of Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’, with the play starting its six-show run on Thursday, November 8 at the Outlook Civic Centre.
From beginning to end, there’s something in this play for seemingly every sense, whether it’s the music and singing, the bold and colorful costumes, or even the lighting that gives off those perfect, bluish hues of sea foam to let the viewer think you’re watching something unfold at the bottom of the ocean.
Headlining as the little mermaid Ariel herself is Madeline Codling, a striking young woman who more than carries the workload that comes with the title performance by way of emotional expression and musical range. The young man trying to win her heart, Prince Eric, is played by Gavin Fleck, who gives Eric the right amount of boyish charm and leading man likability.
Hoping to keep Ariel by his side is her emotionally-conflicted father, King Triton, played by the always-ready Equinox veteran Phil Guebert.
And what Disney story would be complete without a villain? In this case, the spikey-haired, purple-draped Ursula is played with devilish glee by Sheri Lovrod, who commands the stage and gives our protagonists a formidable opponent to overcome.
Another handful of characters who went exceptionally well-liked by the Outlook audience were Flounder the Fish (Trason Ridgewell, eliciting laughs and moments of ‘Awww’ while having to command a Segway machine), Scuttle the Seagull (Alexander Haugen, no doubt the comedic breakout as the wing-flapping bird), and Sebastian the Crab (Kevin Guebert, lending sidekick laughs with a secondary lead performance).
With music playing such an integral part, the cast on the stage are joined just off to the side by Shelley Luedtke (piano), Mari Friggstad (keyboard, flute, percussion) and Graham Codling (saxophone), who all help tell the story in their own important way.
Perhaps the other big stars of this play that should be mentioned are the costumes, which stand out and make attendees take notice in a way that perhaps hasn’t been seen in an Equinox show since 2012’s ‘White Christmas’ or last year’s ‘All The King’s Women’. And we should know here at The Outlook, because costume manager Maureen Weiterman virtually ‘moved in’ with us and made our back offices the sewing and stitching department for weeks! In the end, all her hard work paid off in spades and everyone on stage managed to shine because of such dedication behind the scenes.
With a mix of dialogue and much singing and dancing, along with a number of costume changes for a large handful of its cast, ‘Mermaid’ may ask a lot from its performers, but everyone pulls it off so well that I can say with certainty that this production will become a landmark one for Equinox, to be remembered for (hopefully) generations to come.
‘The Little Mermaid' wraps up its run tonight and tomorrow night at the Outlook Civic Centre.