This production was scheduled March 8-16, 2024.

SLO High School’s musical production of The Little Mermaid is a total delight.

The matinee I attended was only their second performance, so my expectations were low, as well as the fact that since my grandson is graduating, this was to be my last in a long line of school productions going on 46 years.

So I sat dutifully in the audience, next to all my other family members, with a smile plastered on my face, awaiting the next two hours with all the anticipation one usually reserves for a visit to the DMV. I didn’t even ask for a cigarette and a blindfold.

The music began, and Ariel, the main character, played by Sadie Badger, started singing. And boy—could she sing! She sang about wanting to be a human, and I would have listened to her sing about anything, she was so good. Then a stylized ship appeared, occupied by several smartly-costumed sailors, who sang and performed a sea shanty-type dance with such tight choreography that it was stunning to watch. These sailors were part of the Ensemble, admittedly often the weakest part of a production; however, this Ensemble was just the opposite: well-rehearsed, tight, and spot-on. They were a pleasure to watch, and one could see how much time they had put into their performance.

No review of this production would be complete, nor would do justice to it, without heaping praise upon the production team and technical crew.”

Standout performances included Flounder, Ariel’s best friend, played by Jude Biggers, and Sebastian the crab, played by Jamie Collins. Scuttle the Seagull, played by Flannery Clausen, was hilarious, especially when she led several Ensemble members dressed as seagulls in a wild tap-dance number. King Triton, played by XC Clements, seemed larger than life, and their six lovely daughters danced and sang harmony beautifully.

Prince Eric was portrayed by Marco Petterson, and they couldn’t have found a better Prince Eric if they had tried. He was a fine singer, and he really looked the part of a Prince. Grimsby, played by Trevor Pearson, played his bewigged wingman, although his wig was frequently (and hilariously) askew. Chef Louis was portrayed perfectly by Troy Robbins. Along with the Ensemble dancers, he led a madcap chase through the kitchen trying to catch Sebastian the crab in his cooking pot. Even though ham wasn’t on the menu, Chef Louis managed to milk quite a lot of it out of that bit.

Of course, Ursula the wicked sea witch, played by Frida Vega, portrayed evil most foul. But it was her two eel sidekicks, Flotsam and Jetsam, played by Charley Beck and Ivy Pieros, who stole the show (as well as Ariel).

No review of this production would be complete, nor would do justice to it, without heaping praise upon the production team and technical crew. The sound and the lighting were superlative, and, while no one expects professional-level sets in a high school play, these were also extremely good.

The transitions between scenes were accomplished seamlessly, and there never seemed to be any of the usual mix-ups or accidents that happen in the first couple of performances of a production.

I actually found myself feeling sorry when two hours had passed and The Little Mermaid was over. But I planned another visit before it closed, and definitely didn’t ask for a cigarette and a blindfold!

:: Kathy O’Brien