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Once Upon a Mattress, by Music by Mary Rodgers; Lyrics by Marshall Barer
A lively musical overflowing with great performances
Sunday, August 2, 2015
I saw this play on opening night, after a long and tiring week. Uncertain whether the play, a musical, would be entertaining enough to keep me awake, I seriously considered smuggling a flask of iced coffee. In the end, I relented out of fear of being removed from the venue (a church). Fortunately, it proved unnecessary; the play provided 2-hours of wakefulness-promoting entertainment*

The actors were all phenomenal. Standout performances include Abbey Martin (Queen Aggravain), Charity Hitchcock (Lady Larken), and Lauren Butterfield (Princess Winnifred). Their interpretations of the characters were lively and fit the story perfectly. In fact, to try to jog my memory for this review, I watched clips of past productions of Mattress on YouTube and none of the listed characters were done as well as in this production.

Joey Martineck’s Prince Dauntless was, in my opinion, too immature. He never managed to win me over and thus, in the end, I wished Winnifred would have found her happy ever after with someone else (or, perhaps, being a free-spirit, she would have discovered that she preferred being alone).

Mike Glatzer, (the Wizard), Savannah Cookson (the Jester), and the puppet/marionette (as himself) were also amazing but unfortunately, as supporting actors, their time on the stage was limited. Like the three mentioned above, Mr. Glatzer is now the Wizard I will compare other Wizards against; his performance as a performer was well performed**. Likewise, Ms. Cookson and her puppet did such a fine job, I expected them to have a bigger role in the story and kept looking for them in every scene. Their performances led me to believe that they were the hawk and mouse foretold in the prophecy (spoiler alert, they’re not). This I suppose is a double-edged sword, as they may have captured more attention than was called for in the script.

Beyond the acting, the costume and set design (did you notice the beds?) were well done. Though, the music, when not accompanied by the lovely voices of the cast, did have a distinct “church-band” sound.

Overall, I recommend this musical and look forward to future productions by Act 1 Theater.

*Side effects include toe tapping, blushing, and earworm.
** But really, what was the magic trick?!

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