*Disclosure: I received tickets to see this show with my family, so that I could review it on my blog. All opinions posted here are mine and mine alone.
This afternoon we loaded ourselves into our car and made the short drive from Seattle over to Mercer Island, to attend a show at Youth Theatre Northwest. The theatre is located in a residential area on the island and has a huge parking lot outside with plenty of free parking. We headed in and picked up our tickets and anxiously waited for the doors to open.
Our tickets ended up being for the back row, but the theatre is small enough that this didn't hamper our enjoyment at all. Honestly, with kids that get a little overwhelmed by sights and sounds, the back is usually a good choice for us. Action in this play doesn't just go on on the stage, but on several higher areas to the left and right of the stage as well. Fun all around!
The show had a live orchestra, which was nice, and they did an excellent job. As for the show itself- these kids rock! The cast ranged from 9 years of age to 16 years of age and they were all really professional and entertaining. My favorite character was the evil witch Ursula- she stole the show. Another great performance was one of the briefest ones, when the littlest performer made us all laugh and clap wildly with her fabulous interpretation of a French chef happily dicing and slicing fish. As for the main character, Ariel, the actress playing her had a lovely voice and was fun to watch in the first half. She really shone in another way in the second half, when she had to use her body language to play the part (since she'd bargained away her voice to Ursula by this point). We laughed, we clapped and we all cheered when Prince Eric and Princess Ariel found their way together in the end.
My kids are 4 and 6 and my 4-year-old spent most of the time on my lap, since she didn't care for the scenes with Ursula. My 6-year-old was fine. (The YTN website does recommend this show for ages 5 and up). My kids had not seen the movie before, so were unfamiliar with the story. I think kids who know the story will enjoy the play immensely. It moves quickly and has lots of great songs and dancing to keep little attentions focused. There is also an intermission about 2/3 of the way through the show, and drinks and candy/cookies are on sale in the lobby for very reasonable prices.
If you're looking for a fun and affordable way to introduce your family to the theatre, check out a show at Youth Theatre Northwest! Little Mermaid, Jr. runs through February 9, 2014. There are three other shows still to come this season. Visit this link for details.