Earlier today, I reported that one of Denver's two newspapers had weighed in with a review of Disney's The Little Mermaid. It came from Lisa Bornstein of Denver's Rocky Mountain News. Let's just say that from her vantage-point, things didn't go so swimmingly.
Bornstein provided the Broadway-bound tuner that opened last night at the Denver Center for Performing Arts Ellie Caulkins Opera House a passing grade of B-. High marks were given to Sierra Boggess ("spunk and sparkle") as Ariel and Sherie René Scott as a "rivetingly wicked" Ursula, whom she says creates "an original character who pulls the first genuine laughs of the show."
Bornstein also says, "The profound and the prosaic clash uncomfortably throughout The Little Mermaid...It's no Lion King or even Beauty and the Beast, but the show does have its moments of glimmering magic....Unlike other Disney fare, The Little Mermaid remains solidly a children's show with little of the sly humor that appeals to adults."
But, and it's a big but here, I just received Denver Post critic John Moore's primarily favorable three out of four star review of what he calls an "intoxicating spectacle."
Moore has acknowledged the seemingly requisite shortcomings that come with an out-of-town tryout. Yet, he praises the show for being true to the film and zeroes in on the acting:
"What's good about Mermaid is very, very good, starting with diminutive Denver native Sierra Boggess as the animated Ariel virtually come to life. Boggess simply inhabits the headstrong, 16-year-old princess who defies her well-meaning but ill-equipped single father. Bet on it: This tiny kid's gonna be a big Broadway star....The casting is impeccable. Boggess and Scott could be destined for Tony Award nominations."
Of its Broadway readiness, Moore says, "Despite its flaws, (Francesca) Zambello's staging would likely be a hit even if it opened tomorrow just based on audiences' sheer love for the story, and for its positive exploration of a now complex and interesting father-daughter relationship. The emotional power of the tale of a girl learning to stand on her own two feet is not only preserved but enhanced."
Look for my own SOB Review in early September after I take in one of the final performances in the Mile High City.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
Click here for The Little Mermaid tickets (Denver).