Take an age-old fairy tale, a tomboyish princess from the marshlands, an immature, yet much-sought after prince, a mute king, a devious queen and you’ve got Edon High School’s latest musical production ~ Once Upon a Mattress.
Staged the weekend of March 9-10, 2013, Once Upon a Mattress is the comedic adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea. First written as a one-act play, it gained wide-spread popularity and was later extended into a full-length musical debuting on Broadway ~ along with stage and television legend Carol Burnett as Princess Winnifred ~ in 1959.
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With music by Mary Rodgers and lyrics by Marshall Barer, both enjoyable performances, driven by a talented and engaging cast, took you on a delightful ~ yet hilarious ~ journey into a medieval kingdom ruled by the shameless King Sextimus the Silent and his domineering wife Queen Aggravain, who cunningly tried to keep her son, Prince Dauntless, from marrying.
From the very moment the Minstrel recounted the classic story of The Princess and the Pea ~ through song and pantomime ~ old and young alike were captivated. Upon reaching the expected happy ending of “living happily ever after”, he let the audience know, that this, the prettiest version of the story he sings, was not quite accurate for the very good reason that he was there. With a wink of an eye, he continued to the castle where everyone got the chance to witness the telling of the “true story” of the princess and her prince.
With remarkable talents, this amazing Once Upon A Mattress cast immediately brought you into their world ~ complete with royalty, a Court Jester, Minstrel, Wizard, Knights, Ladies in Waiting, spells, tests, dancing, shenanigans ~ and throughout the evening, made you feel right at home.
You sensed their excitement when they learned of the prince’s incipient wife; witnessed Sir Harry and Lady Larken’s tender ~ yet forbidden ~ love; was captivated by King Sextimus the Silent as he gave his son the dreaded “birds and the bees” talk; secretly hoped Queen Aggravain would eventually get her comeuppance and finally coming to realize the meek and child-like Prince Dauntless possessed a certain je ne sais quoi that was quite charming and the unrefined, swamp-dwelling Winnifred was truly just a princess looking for her happily ever after.
It’s utterly amazing to find each actor again perfectly cast for his or her role as each member was absolutely believable! Their enthusiasm, self-confidence, prowess on the dance floor, incredibly engaging facial expressions and perfect, to-the-tee comedic timing, drew every audience member into their scene ~ you were in the countryside listening to the minstrel tell his stories; you were in The Great Hall attending the ball of the century; you did quiver when told to be quiet; you happily rejoiced when Princess Winnifred passed her test and watched in awe as Prince Dauntless boldly told his mother to “shut up!”
The vast amount of time spent memorizing lines, learning song lyrics and understanding the unique personality traits of his or her character, proved worthwhile; cast members, undeniably became their character and were simply superb!
Edon High School’s Once Upon a Mattress proved that anyone can have their happily ever after ~ even without the help of a fairy godmother. Long after the cast and crew strike the set, memories of Dauntless, Winnifred, Aggravain, Sextimus, Harry, Larken, the Nightingale, Jester, Minstrel, Wizard, Knights and Ladies in Waiting, will long forever be etched in the hearts of not only each person in the production, but in those of their family, friends and community as well.
“You can recognize a lady by her elegant air, but a genuine princess is exceedingly rare.”