Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Thursday, February 22

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Going the Extra Mile: How Adrienne Lewis Casts Extras for NBC's "Chicago P.D." Johnny Cash's Music Shines in Ring of Fire, But Don't Hold Your Breath for the Story »

Theater Wed Jul 15 2015

A 4-Year-Old Reviews Chicago Shakespeare Theater's The Little Mermaid


Photo: Liz Lauren for Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Review by Elena, age 4:

This Ariel thing is during my nap time. I took a nap yesterday so mom let me skip it today.

I like the movie more because it's longer -- that didn't have everything. In the movie Ariel went away for a little bit, that's my favorite part. I think she goes into her room.

I didn't like Ursula's fins or her dress -- she wasn't very scary, except when she got big.

I did jump when the cook was chasing Sebastian. How does he put his chompers on?

Ariel was my favorite because her sisters were annoying. Flounder had pretty cool shoes to help him swim.

Mom liked the new ending better because Ariel smashes the shell.

Review by Mike, age 29:

Chicago Shakespeare Theater's The Little Mermaid is a splashy dive through the Disney classic angling to hook guppies into musical theater.

OK, now the fish puns are out of the way.

Elena covered most of the important parts, and really, this is a play custom-built for kids. The pace is quick and the physical humor, dancing, and visuals are nonstop. While the original movie runs for 92 minutes, the musical is 75 minutes with a few extra songs thrown into the mix.

Flitting through the action means there's little time for epic set pieces like other Disney productions (ahem, Lion King). And once you get to the ending it feels pretty abrupt. When the boy in front of me asked his dad "is Ursula dead?" I wasn't sure what happened either.

But Elena's mom usually fast-forwards through the scary parts anyway.

It's still an impressive production given its breakneck speed. Rachel Eskenazi-Gold's Ariel feels authentic, even as she's suspended by ropes or performing without her voice. The young Matthew Uzarraga's Flounder is impressive even beyond his cool shoes. And Rebecca Finnegan's Ursula is sassy and really entertaining to watch.

The Chicago Shakespeare Theater adds to the magic itself, its wooden interior surrounding the round stage like a flotilla of tall ships. As characters swim through the aisles, kids get to see up close what make-believe looks like on a grand scale.

Honestly, I wouldn't brave Navy Pier to see The Little Mermaid unless I had a little one in tow. But watching Elena sit still for over an hour, barely glancing away from the stage except to smile in my direction, was worth the price of admission.

Hopefully she'll fall for the theater hook, line, and sinker.

The Little Mermaid continues at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier through August 16 with performances at 11am and 2pm most days Wednesday-Sunday. Tickets can be bought for $22-34 online or by calling 312-595-5600.

GB store

Melissa / July 16, 2015 12:33 PM

Matthew Uzarraga plays Flounder and Joseph Anthony Byrd plays Sebastian

GB store

Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


An Angry White Guy
AREA Chicago
ArchitectureChicago Plus
Arts Engagement Exchange
The Art Letter
Art or Idiocy?
Art Slant Chicago
Art Talk Chicago
Bad at Sports
Bite and Smile
Brian Dickie of COT
Bridgeport International
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Chainsaw Calligraphy
Chicago Art Blog
Chicago Art Department
Chicago Art Examiner
Chicago Art Journal
Chicago Artists Resource
Chicago Art Map
Chicago Art Review
Chicago Classical Music
Chicago Comedy Examiner
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Daily Views
Chicago Film Examiner
Chicago Film Archives
Chicago Gallery News
Chicago Uncommon
Contemporary Art Space
Co-op Image Group
Co-Prosperity Sphere
Chicago Urban Art Society
Creative Control
Devening Projects
DIY Film
The Exhibition Agency
The Flatiron Project
F newsmagazine
The Gallery Crawl...
Galerie F
The Gaudy God
Happy Dog Gallery
Homeroom Chicago
I, Homunculus
Hyde Park Artcenter Blog
Joyce Owens: Artist on Art
Julius Caesar
Kasia Kay Gallery
Kavi Gupta Gallery
Rob Kozlowski
Lookingglass Theatre Blog
Lumpen Blog
Mess Hall
Neoteric Art
Not If But When
Noun and Verb
On Film
On the Make
Peanut Gallery
Peregrine Program
The Poor Choices Show
Pop Up Art Loop
The Post Family
The Recycled Film
Reversible Eye
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Roots & Culture Gallery
The Seen
Sisterman Vintage
Site of Big Shoulders
Sixty Inches From Center
Soleil's To-Do's
Sometimes Store
Stop Go Stop
Storefront Rebellion
TOC Blog
Theater for the Future
Theatre in Chicago
The Franklin
The Mission
The Theater Loop
Thomas Robertello Gallery
Time Tells Tony Wight Gallery
Uncommon Photographers
The Unscene Chicago
The Visualist
Western Exhibitions
What's Going On?
What to Wear During an Orange Alert?
You, Me, Them, Everybody
Zg Gallery

GB store



A/C on Flickr

Join the A/C Flickr Pool.

About A/C

A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Nancy Bishop,
A/C staff inbox:



A/C Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15