NAHS Production of “Once Upon a Mattress” is not a Musical to Sleep on

Theater Review


Gavin DeFrangesco

Nick and Lillian Richardson had excellent chemistry as the leads in "Once Upon a Mattress"

Gloria Lumbrano - Torres, Staff Reporter

Most people are aware of the well-known classic story of the Princess and the Pea, an unforgettable fairytale of a handsome prince seeking his true love. However, the only way he can find his true love and be at peace is if the bride he chooses suits his mother’s preference. Many versions depict different aspects of the tale, but not all know the true story.  The musical “Once Upon a Mattress,” written by Dean Fuller, Jay Thompson, and Marshall Barer, manifests a comical version that was showcased at Norristown Area High School on Nov.8 and 9. Watching the play I was so inspired by the performances, I couldn’t wait to go home and download the soundtrack, especially the song “In a Little While,” since I’ve been singing it even here as I write this piece.

The show starts off with the Minstrel (Bryanna Skipwith) giving a musical description of the story of the Princess and the Pea. While the Minstrel is played by a man in the original version, Skipwith’s low vocal pitch gave justice to her role. Although in the Princess and the Pea typically only talks about one princess, in this version, there are twelve. The Queen’s vigilant morals become a barrier for the prince, for they inhibit her ability to decide who may be the best choice for her son to marry. The kingdom Knight, Sir Harry’s (Nick Richardson) life-changing news leads towards his journey to go the uncharted parts to find the princess for the Prince Dauntless the Drab (PJ Toms). 

Relationships among certain characters give off a comical tone. The Trio of the Jester (Kathyrn Griffin), the Minstrel, and King Sextimus the Silent (Jennifer Guzman) was hilarious throughout every scene with their dynamic drollery. In this despondent kingdom, their motivation to help the princess and push this story come to a happy conclusion is seen and shown through a series of belly aches of laughter. 

Director Damien Bucci, clearly knows a thing about directing musicals, even actors with the smallest role had their moment to shine. Especially, Princess No.12 (Star Skinner) when she was challenged by the Queen, her ambition to be the Princess of Prince Dauntless the Drab, created this very rambunctious personality, as she was one of the first acts to make the audience laugh. 

Much of the music made me want to warm up my own soles and let loose. The “Spanish Panic” featured an unforgettable choreography with a mix of iconic urban dance moves like the “Nae – Nae”. Through this dance, Princess Winnifred the Woebegone (Allison Perry), the Knights and Ladies, stood out in this choreography. The whole performance was a ball to remember. Perry’s character was definitely the outcast in the beginning but her willingness to become princess enchants the prince and her only obstacle is to get the Queen’s Acceptance. 

If you missed this production, make sure you catch the next. Norristown Area High School Musical plays are certainly something to circle on your calendar, so don’t miss the next one.