Marie Clark Musical Theatre, together with Director Lauren Scarfe, have bought the musical Once Upon A Mattress to life with humour and creativity. It's playing at The Goodwood Institute on October 25th until November 2nd. Once Upon a Mattress is a musical with music and lyrics by Mary Rodgers & Marshall Barer. Based on the book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller and Marshall Barer. The musical was written as an adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale The Princess and the Pea.
This musical had fans excited before it even begun with the rustic and realistic castle set design. It takes you back to when the story began long ago in a Kingdom far away. The Kingdom is run by Mute King Sextimus (John Lanigan O'Keeffe) who doesn't recognise the woman he fell in love with anymore but definitely sees the Lady maids. He is unable to speak due to a curse that can only be reversed when the mouse devours the hawk. The King is married to Queen Aggravain (Lucy Trewin), who has taken over control of the kingdom. They also have a son, Prince Dauntless (William Peake), who would like to meet and marry a beautiful princess.
The story of the Princess and the Pea tells the tale of a Princess who has to take a sensitivity test but this story tells us how we got to this point. Princess Winnifred, played by the lovely Emily-Jo Davidson, slid perfectly into this lead role. She was a highly comical and realistic everyday Princess. She brought beauty inside and out. She doesn't like pretty dresses as much as she likes swimming in the moat and lifting heavy weights but she catches Dautless's eye and he is determined to help her win the test. This story features 12 women who take the test before Winnifred - every test is different and designed so that they are unpassable. Queen Aggravain (Trewin) rigs the test so that Dautless will never leave her.
Davidson flaunts natural talent while gracing the stage with 'Happily Ever After' and shows on-stage chemistry with Peake throughout 'Song of Love'. A highlight of the show was the duet between Mute King Sextimus and Prince Dautless to 'Man to Man Talk'. This hilarious rendition of the birds and the bees had the crowd in laughter. William Peake is a believable Dautless. He shows real affection for Davidson and is loyal like a son to Trewin. He is quirky and soft-hearted until upset and then he stands for what he wants and what would be best for the Kingdom.
The trio to 'Normandy' featuring Jester (Claire Birbeck), Minstrel (Aled Proeve) and Kind Sextimus (O'Keeffe) was very well done using actions when it was Semtimus' turn to sing and the audience could follow along with no problem. Birbeck was hilarious but also passionate and her jazz-inspired solo to 'Very Soft Shoes' was beautiful and featured inspired dance moves.
The Princess's Hand Maiden Lady Larkin (Brooke Washusen) spent little quality time with Knight Sir Harry (Chris Bierton). They have beautiful on-stage chemistry and their vocals work really well together throughout 'In a Little While'. Its perfect harmony and lovely to watch. There is a rule in the Kingdom - no one else may marry until Prince Dauntless is wed, however, Winnifred didn't just turn up to the Castle - she was found and bought back by Sir Harry who is desperate to marry Lady Larkin because he loves her and because she's having his baby.
Starring Emily-Jo Davidson (Princess Winnifred), William Peake (Prince Dauntless), Lucy Trewin (Queen Aggravain), John Lanigan-O'Keeffe (King Sextimus), Brooke Washusen (Lady Larkin), Chris Bierton (Sir Harry), Claire Birbeck (Jester) and Aled Proeve (Minstrel).
The cast and ensemble were highly talented ladies and gents or lords and ladies. The characters were on point and the set design was remarkable, down to the detailing on each stone of the castle. Vanessa Redmond did a lovely job with the choreography featuring solos, Spanish-inspired ball routines, group numbers and was well-rehearsed. The beautiful costumes fit the era and the girls stood out in their multi-coloured gowns. The gentlemen looked very smart but it was the jesters' costume that stood out the most. Well done to Marie Clark Musical Theatre Company for another highly entertaining production.
Don't miss your chance to see Once Upon a Mattress at Goodwood Institute this October.
When October 25th – 26th and 30th – 31st at 8pm
November 1st – 2nd at 8pm October 26th & November 2nd at 2pm
Cost Adult: $38.00
Group 10 $30.00
Groups 30 $27.00
Flash Sale $33.00