A musical play based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Little Mermaid was staged by the students of Bethany High School at Jyothi Niwas College, Bangalore this weekend. My friend wanted to attend as she loves the songs from the Disney animation, and I went along, with little expectations.
Since leaving school, this was my first experience of watching a performance by school children. At the venue, waiting outside were excited children and their equally excited parents; we seemed to be the only two solo adults who had lost our way into a parallel universe.
I was carrying my laptop and was anxious that it might not be allowed entry – but there was no scrutiny of the items being taken inside. Another departure from the norms we have got used to at public places.
So began the proceedings with a small “making of the play” video. A well-shot piece that created a favourable impression of things to come. The “Chief Cheer Leader” shown in the video, aka The Principal of the school then made way to the stage. He was nothing like the Principals I have been used to in my schooldays – he looked fit, wore dark shades and had a sense of humour.
After a short introductory speech, the curtains rose.
The play faithfully follows the plot of the 1989 Disney adaptation. The sets were pretty nicely done, giving a convincing enough look of deep under the sea. Some of the acting was at par with professional theatre actors, notably Sebastian the Crab and Ursula the Sea Witch. The little one who played Flounders did a great job, too.
The singing was live, no lip-synching – hard to believe, it was that good! Sebastian and the leading lady Princess Ariel were outstanding.
A lot of effort has clearly gone into the preparation of the play. Despite being over two hours long and heavy with dialogue, not one member of the cast forgot their part.
The most endearing, infectious quality was the joie de vivre of its cast. Especially in the choreographed sequences Under The Sea and Shake Senora, the stage came alive when boys and girls of all ages ran onto the stage and danced with great gusto. They sure had a blast and made us too a very happy audience.