Once Upon a Mattress
Central Florida Community Arts Theater
Music by Mary Rodgers
Lyrics by Marshall Barer
Book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshal Barer
Directed by Blake Auburn
Choreographed by Eric Yow
Musical Direction by Jami-Leigh Bartschi
Starring Kiernan O’Connor, Joel Swanson and Kelly Mauro
When a King cannot speak, it’s tough making any real proclamations. In this fairly land country Queen Aggravain (Mauro) rules while King Sextimus (Giuseppe Falocco) mimes his commands, and not with this ASL nonsense. They have a rather dim son; Prince Dauntless (Swanson) needs a wife to continue the family business of exploiting peasants. But queenie doesn’t want to marry him off, and with the aid of her laconic Wizard (Jessica Hoehn) she arranges impossible-to-pass quizzes for the supplicants. Adding tension is a local rule that no one can get married until the Prince marries. This, of course does not stop people from practicing and Sir Harry (Reid Canal) impregnates his GF Lady Larken (Sarah Mills), thus motivating his quest to find a suitable mate for Dauntless. He returns with the abrasive and overwhelming Winnifred (O’Connor). Ah, love! The causation and solution to all musical theater!
While small children might enjoy this show, there is a decided adult orientation to the politics here. The queen’s motivation is unclear, but the results are unpopular, and people want to return to the regular procreational entrainment life provides. Winnifred is fearless, loud, and combative, a perfect foil to Aggravain’s more Machiavellian tactics. Falocco does a good job of miming his lines, and the dashing Sir Harry… dashes quite nicely. Songs are fluffy but to the point; titles like “Spanish Panic” and “The Swamps of Home” point up that this a romance, and politics merely a McGuffin. Good for kids, good for adults and good for what ails you, this is good clean fun, good clean music, and a political dynamic that will never die. That’s five “goods” in a row, a fine score for this season closer at CFCA.