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'Mulan' a Delight

Cappies Review

Based on the 1998 Disney film starring Lea Salonga and Eddie Murphy, "Mulan" is a well-known story about a young Chinese woman who doesn't quite fit in. She tries, but is doomed to be unmarried and scorned. She finds her calling, however, when the occasion arises to fight the Huns in place of her ailing father. She steals his armor, leaves home and although it takes a while for Captain Shang to "make a man" out of the faulty army, ends up being a hero in the war. Just as all seems well, the army finds out that she is, in fact, a woman. Her life is spared, but when the Huns attack again, she knows she must stop them and cements her own future, one that was not written in stone for her, but an even better one.

HERITAGE HAD an interesting way of portraying the familiar story. It was in traditional Chinese presentational style, which meant no blackouts and set pieces were taken on and off in plain sight. While it was thought that would take away from the production, it was hardly noticeable and very entertaining. The cast as a whole, although sometimes lacking facial expression and energy, had lovely voices that blended together well. This especially was shown in the Mothers and Daughters ensemble in "Honor To Us All," with wonderful harmonies to boot.

As the strong-willed Mulan, Christi McCarthy was sweet and sincere and had true comedic moments when she attempted to fit in with "the guys." Her voice was pretty and obviously the best of the bunch. As Mushu the dragon, Brandon Spann was hilarious and had the most consistency out of all the actors, channeling the outrageous style of Eddie Murphy very well. Bennett Layman was extraordinary and gut-bustingly funny as Chi-Fu, the Chinese bureaucrat. His consistent "floating" walk and unfaltering accent were remarkable.

The technical aspects of the show were good. The sets, although minimal, were used to their full potential. Unfortunately, Heritage was met with abundant microphone problems that sometimes took away from the action onstage.

All in all, "Mulan" was a delight and certainly "Brought honor to us all."