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Stupendous. Awesome. Enchanting. Magnificent. Fantastic.
These are just some of the adjectives that come to mind when trying to describe the Lights of Love Children’s Choir’s dramatic adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson story and Walt Disney’s film The Little Mermaid.
The brilliant production occupied the first half of Love Notes, the Love Movement’s musical presentation staged at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s, last Friday night.
Brian MacFarlane and his team transformed the Queen’s Hall stage into a life-like coral reef, and the set and costume designers, make-up artistes, props team, and other personnel ensured that the Love Movement’s musical director/producer Bernadette Laughlin-Scott’s desire to see the ambitious Love Notes become the group’s “most creative and entertaining production ever” was successfully fulfilled.
The Little Mermaid is a well-known fairy tale about a young mermaid willing to give up her life in the undersea kingdom and her identity as a mermaid to gain a human soul and the love of a human prince. In the role of Ariel (the mermaid) was Chloe Pollonais whose skillful performance was nicely complemented by the combined efforts of the huge supporting cast (over 80) of sea creatures.
According to the tale, when a mermaid reaches 15 years of age, she is permitted to swim to the surface to watch the world above. When Ariel’s turn comes, she rises up to the surface, sees a ship with a handsome prince, and falls in love with him from a distance.
Under the cover of music adapted and arranged by David Weinstein, creditable interpretations of their leading roles were given, also, by Keston Andrews as King Triton, Jon-Anthony O’Brien as Prince Eric, and David Isidore as Sebastien.
“It was a mind-boggling, exhausting and frightening experience at times, and had me thinking: ‘Did I bite off more than I could chew!’” said Laughlin-Scott, of the production.
“I thank God for allowing me to make some crazy decisions at times, and I realise ‘He does write straight on crooked lines.’ He does take us through a Baptism of Fire only to cleanse and make everything more beautiful, radiant, entertaining and heart-warming for our audiences.”
A note on the printed programme given to patrons informed that “Disney’s The Little Mermaid JR was presented through special arrangement with, and all materials supplied by, Music Theatre International of 421 West 54th Street New York.”
The playbill’s second half featured songs by the Love Movement’s Senior Choir, and Republic Bank Love Movement Youth Outreach Group. Outstanding was the segment by the combined groups of Mamma Mia, celebrating 40 years of Swedish group Abba. With musical arrangements by Mac Huff, soloists Kelsey Badall, Melissa Maingot and Christopher Aird lent their voices to lead the singing of selections that included Mamma Mia, Dancing Queen, I Have A Dream, and Take A Chance On Me.
Also creating an impact with some modern, slick, hip-hop dance moves was the Outreach Group’s interpretation of Katy Perry’s chart-topper Roar. The song is a bouncy statement by Perry about moving forward into the next stage of her life. Soloist Gabrielle Rajkumar gave excellent voice to the musical arrangement by Mark Brynner, while the dancers were fluid and graceful in executing the steps.
The Senior Choir treated us to The Golden Years—The Music of Traditional Broadway, before the Love Movement Family combined to close the evening with an emotional rendition of Chris Rice’s inspiring composition Go Light Your World, arranged by David Hamilton, with beautifully controlled solo singing from Marcia Arizmendez and Dario Gonzales.