Once Upon A Mattress

Once Upon A Mattress
Music: Mary Rodgers. Lyrics: Marshall Barer. Book: Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller and Marshall Barer. Laughing Horse Productions. Directed by Adam Salathiel. Koorliny Arts Centre, Kwinana, WA. 7-22 April, 2017

Once Upon A Mattress is an infrequently performed musical, which is a pity as this slightly spicy fairy-tale of a show is a delight for audience and performers alike.
This youth production is presented by Laughing Horse Productions and features performers from eight year of age. While there is a wide range of experience and varying vocal and acting abilities in the cast, they are all focused and working hard and there is a wonderful feeling of camaraderie.

Phillipa Bialis opens the show as the Minstrel who introduces the audience to the story of The Princess and the Pea, and who becomes a key player. Lovely facial expressions in this anchor role. She works well with the beautifully voiced Gabriella Munro, who is a standout as the Jester and Lachlan Felstead as King Sextimus the Silent, who gives a glorious mute performance.

The hero, of sorts, is very nicely played by Lincoln Tapping who is strong as the weak Mummy’s boy Prince Dauntless. He is nicely matched with power-house Paige Montebello as princess Winnifred, who brings guts to this challenging, big-singing role. 

Bethany Tandy is sweet as the complex Lady Larken, working well opposite chameleon actor Felix Camper, who brings a big performance to Sir Harry. 
Emmalee Bialis relishes being the villain as the aggravating Queen Aggravain, working alongside the youngest actor in a principal role, Lawson Sweetman, a whom I had trouble seeing under his wizard hat.

Nice support came from Jaime Bialis - an earnest Princess No. 12, Evan Swallow charming as Sir Study and Ladies in Waiting Merryl (Luna Harpaz), Lucille (Mikayla Wyartt), Beatrice (Anastasia Dawes), the French Mabelle (Amalea Lawrence) and in her debut, Charlie Piper Scott.

More very promising community debuts throughout this production included the very focused Alex Smith, Lachlan Hinton, Dempsey Sweetman, Joshua Vickery, Ireland Dehner, Jemma Hunwick, Isla Sweetman and the lovely Blake Taafe, as knights and ladies.

Zoe Jay’s choreography was fun and nicely executed, with "The Spanish Panic" being a show highlight. Musical Director Paul Olsen has vocal coached the cast, who perform to a backing track. The set, nicely designed by director Adam Salathiel, includes a well used revolve - and it looks great. Costumes have a fairy-tale feel.

The audience enjoyed this warm-hearted production, a perfect school holiday treat and a chance to check out some of our emerging talent.

Kimberley Shaw

Subscribe to our E-Newsletter, buy our latest print edition or find a Performing Arts book at Book Nook.