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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

stage review

At North Shore, a buoyant ‘Little Mermaid’

BEVERLY — “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” lands at the North Shore Music Theatre with a satisfying splash, making imaginative use of the arena’s circular stage, multiple entrances, and creative set pieces to transport audiences from under the sea to dry land and back again.

Director Michael Heitzman has not only found some powerhouse performers for the principal roles, he’s created a remarkably fast-paced flow for the show, keeping it moving even when some of the numbers added for the transition from the 1989 hit film to the 2008 Broadway production slow the action to a crawl. It’s not that the additional songs are weak — in fact, “Positoovity” serves as a terrific second act opener and “She’s in Love” is a fun spoof of ’60s girl groups — it’s just that the late Howard Ashman was a lyricist with that rare combination of sincerity and sharp, sly wit. Lyricist Glenn Slater is certainly competent, and the stage show needed more than the film’s seven songs, but several of the Menken/Slater songs feel uninspired and pad the show rather than add interest.

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