Great musicals come in many different forms. Audiences can take in a sweeping epic drama, a biography of a well-known person’s life overcoming great odds, political thrillers, tragic love stories, and much more. However, not enough can be said about those lighthearted and jovial musicals that can leave the audience feeling a little lighter than when they walked in the door. ‘Once Upon a Mattress’ is the kind of musical that lifts a few of life’s troubles, even just for the day.
Lavish costumes, a strong cast, and a wild story tinged with a hint of Monty Python humor make up Hingham Civic Music Theatre’s irresistible fairy tale, ‘Once Upon a Mattress’ continuing through Sunday, May 1 at the Sanborn Auditorium at Hingham Town Hall in Hingham, Massachusetts. Click here for more information and for tickets!
Narrated warmly by Brendan Smith as Minstrel and directed by Bill Boyer, ‘Once Upon a Mattress’ is based loosely on Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘Princess and the Pea.’ In a majestic land that is losing hope of their happily ever after, one unconventional woman just might make all the difference. A wide range of grandiose, richly colored costumes and suitable period pieces by costume designer Kathryn Ridder, are visual stunners against a royal setting adorned in gold trim and red velvet.
An upbeat, jazz tinged overture opens this rollicking fairy tale. The music score is catchy, heartfelt, and possesses its fair share of silliness. Hannah Ford as Princess Winnifred lights up the stage with the number, ‘Shy’ and shares quirky chemistry with Tyler Cavanagh as Prince Dauntless, especially during ‘Song of Love.’ Other musical highlights include ‘Many Moons Ago,’ ‘Sensitivity,’ ‘Yesterday I Loved You,’ and ‘Man to Man Talk.’ Brave, yet stubborn Sir Harry, charmingly portrayed by Brian Kenerson and agile soprano Iva Briggs as sympathetic and emotional Lady Larkin excel during the number, ‘In a Little While.’
This entire cast also hit all the right notes. Hannah Ford portrays brave and strong willed Princess Winnifred. Hannah exudes a natural comedic flair while skillfully channeling Carol Burnett’s signature bawdiness. Her daring sight gags and blend of soaring and booming vocals offer a tremendously funny performance.
Bonnie Gardner, adorned in ornate and at times, over the top attire depicts unmercilessly chatty Queen Aggravain. Bonnie offers busybody flair, so wrapped up in self and completely out of touch with her surroundings. Her dramatic, guilt ridden outbursts are a highlight. Set against Brian Jipson’s creative, non-verbal humor as
King Sextimus, the two are a sordid, hilarious combination. Whether smirking or making a grand gesture, Brian is a subtle scene stealer. His performance is particularly strong with Tyler Cavanagh as blushing, naive, and boyish Prince Dauntless during the number, ‘Man to Man Talk.’ Paulie Devlin is wonderful as a brooding and shrewd Wizard, attempting to outsmart everyone she encounters. From a perilous quiz scene to a festive, royal celebration, the ensemble skillfully elevates the excitement, humor, and authenticity in each scene.
Hingham Civic Music Theatre’s ‘Once Upon a Mattress’ will hold their final performances on Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. One Sunday matinee will take place on May 1 at 2 p.m. All performances take place at the Sanborn Auditorium, Hingham Town Hall at 210 Central Street in Hingham, Massachusetts. Group and discount tickets are available. Click here for tickets and follow Hingham Civic Music Theatre on Facebook.