By Amanda Berg Whittle
If you’ve never been to the Off Broadway Theater, you should know their performances are hands down the funniest comedy in Utah, and this show is no exception. Written by one of the owners of the theater, Eric Jensen, The Little Miamaid is exactly what it sounds like–a parody of The Little Mermaid but with a bit of Utah flair. It is the story of a lovely mermaid, Muriel (Rebecca Lemon), who falls in love with a nice Mormon human, Derek (Elias Braghin). It follows her quest to make him love her back despite the evil workings of the ocean witch Usana (Chelsea Baldwin) and her shark minions Finny (Ashley Morales) and Gill (Rachel Green). Muriel gets help from her father, Neptune (Eric Jensen), her sisters Coral-lee (Annie Nguyen and Emily Smith), Daphne (Kati Paul), and Poopsie (Zack Hulse), and crab friend, Santiago (Dory Peacock).
The show is rich with puns–many, many puns. That’s the fun of the show. I’m pretty sure every scene has at least 10 top-notch puns, most of which are made by Jensen and Peacock. They really make the show, despite being more minor characters. The puns are often eye roll goofy, but that’s the spirit of the show. It’s meant to be as cheesy as a Chicago style pizza, and they really embrace the cheesiness. The songs are remakes of songs from musicals other than The Little Mermaid, because, to quote Peacock “[they] didn’t get the rights to ‘those’ songs.” Lemon has an absolutely gorgeous voice, as one can find out when they listen to her sing “Part of That Ward.” Likewise, Baldwin sounds just like Mama from Chicago when she sings “Usana’s Good to You.” Her voice is perfect for the part she plays, and the song she sings.
Besides the puns, my favorite part about the musical is the plethora of hilarious Mormon jokes, from the mermaids being “Mermans” who read “The Book of Merman” to mentions of the “Merman Tabernacle Choir,” to Derek’s mom, Ms. Agnes (Tonya Aikens) mentioning the need for him to attend more Young Single Adult activities. If you understand the LDS culture, this show will make you laugh until you might split your sides. If you don’t, then there just may be times when the rest of the audience is laughing and you won’t understand why. Don’t worry, though, there will still be plenty of humor for you, too.
Director Kylee Wood, Choreographer Jillene Stark, Light and Sound Technician Rob Reins, and man-who-does-everything (costuming, producing, set design, music and sound effects, and writer) Eric Jensen bring us under the sea with their musical comedy The Little Miamaid at the Off Broadway Theater every Monday, Friday, and Saturday until April 14th. You won’t be disappointed–it’s the funniest, punniest show in town. Be sure to stay for their improv comedy show, Laughing Stock, on Fridays and Saturdays year-round at 10. You can get discounts for Laughing Stock when you see their featured show the same night.
Off Broadway Theatre presents The Little Miamaid by Eric Jensen
Off Broadway Theatre 272 Main St, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
March 9- April 14, 2018 Monday, Friday-Saturday 7:30 PM
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