SKIT Theatre’s production of The Little Mermaid, which closed on May 21, was a delightful evening of family entertainment.
This was my first visit to a SKIT (SKIT = Salem-Keizer Inspirational Teen) Theatre Production, formerly housed at Bethany Baptist Church and now at home at the First Free Methodist Church on Silverton Road. Their mission is “to embody God’s love by creating a theatrical outreach for teens.” They provide after-school theatre workshops for both teens and kids, followed up with productions, offered on a somewhat irregular schedule.
Their current production was The Little Mermaid, the musical version of the Disney movie, featuring Ariel, Sebastian the crab, Ursula the Sea Witch, and several choruses of mermaids, princesses, and sailors. The performance quality was definitely in the amateur/student range. Some singers were stronger than others; some microphones worked and some didn’t. But that’s all fine. Kudos to Lindy Hatcher (the understudy!) in the title role, who more than did justice to Ariel’s famous voice. Amelia Poston was a treat as Ursula, whose costuming and villainous bombast were among of the highlights. Flounder was my daughter’s favorite.
I was impressed with the scale of the production: a cast of 40, live music, tons of spectacle, fun costumes, and a perfectly functional set design. Sight lines in the church were not great, but a tall platform helped many of the scenes. It was the not the best Theatre for Young Audiences show I have seen locally, but it was far from the worst. In terms of enthusiasm from actors and audience, the show was unmatched. My young viewing companion called it her second favorite play.
If you are looking for a fun family play, or an introduction to theatre for the kids that won’t bore the adults, SKIT would be a good place to start. SKIT’s upcoming productions are The Hobbit and The Jungle Book, both in August.
Elsewhere in the Valley
The Rainmaker, at Pentacle. By N. Richard Nash, directed by Jo Dodge. A drought brings a con man to town, and the local spinster must choose between running away with this lovable rogue and staying with the dependable sheriff. This is a heartfelt play about the pursuit of dreams and the hope for rain in a dry season. May 27–June 18.
DROP DEAD! At Keizer Homegrown. In a change up from Keizer’s recent offerings (the think-piece Doubt and the anti-war play Time Stands Still) DROP DEAD! is a true farce, in that its goal is nothing but laughter. If you want a good belly laugh and don’t want to think too hard, this is the one for you. Closes May 28.
Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, at WOU: Until recently, this was one of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays, considered one of the weaker Romances, a category that also includes Pericles, A Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest. In the Northwest, this all changed with a staging by Northwest Classical Theatre in Portland in 2011. Then, as these things are wont to go, it was picked up by Portland Center Stage in 2012, the University of Portland in 2014, and Anon It Moves in 2015. It’s also one of my personal favorites, for its fairy tale qualities and the dynamic of real equity between the two lovers. Western Oregon University sets the play in the big-haired 80s, making this now popular play truly hip. Worth checking out. May 25–28 only.