Raucous to the Rafters: CHS’s ‘Once Upon a Mattress’ Entertains

May 16, 2013

by Doug RobinsonSet in Medieval times, with beautiful and colorful costumes, the Campbell High School actors and actresses brought the house down with outrageous laughter and fun during their performance of “Once Upon a Mattress.”  Combined with the orchestra and production crew, the performance of “Once Upon a Mattress” was a memorable performance for all to see.

The musical comedy is an adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, “The Princess and the Pea,” and first appeared on Broadway in 1959.  Since then, the show has been a popular selection for many High Schools and Theatrical groups.  The Tony winning musical was also adapted for television viewing.

Over 30 performers, musicians and crewmembers came together to bring Campbell’s adaptation to the stage.

“Once Upon a Mattress” tells the tale of Prince Dauntless the Drab’s (Steven Amadio) quest to find a bride, who must first pass an impossible test designed by his mother, Queen Aggravain.  While a dozen girls have already been tested and rejected by dear ‘ol mom, Queen Aggravain (Megan Connor), “no one may wed until Dauntless shares his marriage bed” states the marriage law of the times.

The plot thickens when it is learned that Lady Larken (Molly Santos) and Sir Harry (Matt Woods), have a new arrival on the way.  They may not be married until Prince Dauntless finds his new princess.

While Sir Harry searches surrounding kingdoms for a suitable princess, he returns to his kingdom with the highly energetic Princess Winnifred.  Princess Winnifred is so excited at the opportunity for the Prince’s hand, that she arrives at the castle dripping wet, from having swam the moat rather than wait for the draw bridge to be dropped.  Queen Aggravain devises a sensitivity test to prevent Dauntless from marrying this “moat swimmer.”

The premise of the test for Prince Dauntless the Drab’s hand would be that  if she were a true princess she would be “ unable to sleep because she’d detect one “small pea concealed beneath a pile of mattresses.“  As with any good comedy, the minstrel and jester both discover the secrets of the test and alert Princess Winnifred of Queen Aggravain’s intent.

As the cast of characters play up the parodies with their performances, the audience was swept away with their humor, wit, and characterizations.