If you have a young child, you need to take the time this weekend or next to see Potomac State College's production of “The Little Mermaid.”

By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
If you have a young child, you need to take the time this weekend or next to see Potomac State College’s production of “The Little Mermaid.”
If you don’t have a young child, borrow one.
Or just go see it. Period. You won’t regret it.
“The Little Mermaid” takes you into the Disney fantasy based on the classic Hans Christian Anderson tale of the little mermaid who dreams of visiting the world above the sea - a world which her father has forbidden her to even think about. In a moment of desperation to find the young man she saved from drowning, however, Ariel trades in her enchanting voice for a pair of legs and embarks on a journey on land to find her prince.
If you saw the Disney movie, you will be pleased to see PSC director Mark Ashby stays true to the beloved characters and through the use of a video backdrop is able to create a sometimes beautiful, sometimes dark and forbidding vision of life under the sea.
As Ariel, Laurel Plitnik is perfect as she glides (literally) across the stage and enchants everyone with her beautiful voice. Her longing for anything related to the world above the sea seems genuine, and her complete naivete once she finds herself thrust into the new world is endearing.
As in any good teen love story, however, Ariel’s dad, who just happens to be King of the Sea, is not so happy about her desire to experience new worlds.
As King Triton, John McConnell commands the seas (and stage) with his booming voice, yet easily tempers his temper with his love for his headstrong teenage daughter.
Much of the lightness and laughter of the show is provided by Ariel’s three buddies who tag along with her while trying not too successfully to keep her out of trouble.
Makenna Keith is adorable as Flounder the fish, Martin Jellison will crack you up as the lovable but goofy Scuttle the seagull, and Stephen Gumtz as Sebastian, everybody’s favorite crustacean, is a wonderful mix of wanting to obey King Triton’s command to keep Ariel out of trouble, and yet, he has a definite soft spot for the little mermaid who has fallen in love with (GASP!) a human.
One of the funnier scenes in the play involves Sebastian accidentally coming across the chef (Kevin Shreve) preparing a great seafood meal for the prince. They had me cracking up.
Prince Eric, the object of Ariel’s affection, is portrayed by Dakota Browning, who does very well in portraying a young royal yearning for a relationship with someone who loves him for himself and not his title.
On the dark side of the world under the sea is Ursula, the Sea Witch, portrayed by Payton Chronister, who casts the spell on Ariel in hopes of keeping her voice forever. Ursula is always accompanied by Flotsam (Samantha Adams) and Jetsam (Kendal Johnson), who seem to actually float and flow through their scenes like the seaweed they’re portraying.
Other key players in the production include Jaiden Courrier as Grimsby, the always-proper but often exasperated caretaker of the prince; Erica Bennett, Aquata, Kylie Eckard, Andrina; Emily Snyder, Arista; Denise Adams, Atina; Lexus Middleton, Adella; and Ashlynn Cooper, Allana - all daughters of King Triton who try, but fail, to compete with Ariel’s special place in the king’s heart.
There is so much more to write about with this production, but I cannot fail to mention to absolutely gorgeous backdrop that you just can’t seem to take your eyes off of.
I don’t want to spoil the pleasant surprise, so just let me say the backdrop takes this fish tale to a perfect level.
Potomac State is presenting “The Little Mermaid” tonight at 7:30 p.m. and  Sunday at 2:30 p.m. and again next Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the Church-McKee Arts Center.
Tickets are available at eventbrite.com or at the door on the night of the performance. General admission or reserved seating can also be purchased by calling 304-788-6855.