Review: The Little Mermaid a splash hit for Persephone Theatre

Photo Credit: (left to right) Maya Baker, Joema Frith and Synthia Yusuf dance during the media call for Persephone Theatre’s production of ‘The Little Mermaid’ in Saskatoon, SK, April 10, 2024. Photo Electric Umbrella/Liam Richards Photo Electric Umbrella/Liam Richards.

In the leadup to opening night, Persephone Theatre’s artistic director Heather Cant promised The Little Mermaid would be a theatre magic-laden spectacular.

And by Poseidon, the show delivered.

Marred by a few technical difficulties that will hopefully be ironed out in the early part of the run, Persephone Theatre’s season-ending production was full to bursting with brilliant singing, hilarious comedy and a cornucopia of eye candy in nearly every scene in the preview Thursday night.

The plot is pretty well-known at this point — Ariel (Synthia Yusuf) feels trapped in her life under the sea, and makes a deal with the sea witch Ursula (Kristel Harder) to be able to go on land to hopefully win the love of the dashing sailor Prince Eric (Caulin Moore).

But let’s not worry about the plot — it hits all those same fun notes that the animated movie does, and there’s not much to add there. Instead, let’s talk about how this production manages to rival, and in some ways surpass, the animated classic.

This is as close to a magnum opus as set and light and costume design may get in Persephone Theatre. Particularly in those scenes under the sea or on the sea (yes, there’s more than one boat in this show), the visuals on display are equal parts clever and mesmerizing. Set pieces slot together and move around the stage so a handful of pieces make multiple distinct locales, flats are flown in and out to create stunning undersea effects and ominous ocean caves and the lighting design and effects added an air of magic to the production. It’s easily one of the best-designed shows Persephone Theatre has ever staged, and those members of the production team deserved their own bows.

Cant, who is also the director of this production, found so many little nuances to layer into a fun show. The movement of the mermaids “underwater” has a clear fluidity to set them apart from their land-dwelling counterparts,


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