Spring musical “Once Upon a Mattress” delivers best of SHSU theater

Laughs filled the Erica Starr Theater last week as the Sam Houston State Theater Department delivered a hilarious performance of the spring musical “Once Upon a Mattress”. With the colorful set, animated cast and lively music, the show was anything but boring.

“Once Upon a Mattress” takes place in a kingdom ruled by the Queen Aggravain, who makes it law that no one will marry until her son, Prince Dauntless, marries a real princess. With a series of unfair tests, she stops every princess who tries to marry her son.

But when Princess Winifred is brought to the castle, she proves that it wont be that easy for the queen to get rid of her. What ensues is a whacky retelling of “The Princess and the Pea”.

From the opening, the actors had the audience laughing. Each of the characters was charming, funny and brought to life with their over the top body language. Each had unique characteristics about them that made the characters memorable and believable.

Queen Aggravain, played by Sarah Meyers, used her accent, voice changes and over the top personality to create a melodramatic attitude that brought comedic relief to her most conniving moments.

One of the most memorable roles of the show was King Sextimus, played by Garrett Line. He used props, facial expressions and hand gestures to communicate with other characters. This made for some of the most hilarious comedic moments in the show like when he tried to explain sex to Prince Dauntless in a number titled “Man to Man Talk.”

Aside from the characters, the music and dance in the show were phenomenal. The songs were a mix of classic Broadway sounds, and touches of Medieval tunes.

All of the songs brought personality to the stage. The numbers sang by Princess Winnifred, played by Katelyn Johnson were filled with personality. In her entrance titled “Shy”, she combined her body language and smiles with her strong voice to take command of the stage. She had the audience cheering and laughing throughout the show.

The best dance moments of the show came from the group dance numbers. In “The Spanish Panic”, the cast showcased its versatility with a variety of steps that included the monkey, the chicken dance, and the Tango that turned the stage into a fun party for the audience.

The second act opened with another big dance moment “Quiet”. It started off with the Jester, played by Max Pierce, clapping and stomping on beat and then rippled throughout the entire cast.

They moved across the stage in synchronization while still managing to inject humor and personality for the audience. The result was unique to the theater stage and made for another memorable moment that drew the loudest applause from the audience.

With the talented cast, hilarious characters and versatility dance and music, “Once Upon a Mattress” was easily one of the best shows performed at SHSU. The only disappointment was that it was not able to go on longer.

For more information about the SHSU Theater Department, visit http://www.shsu.edu/~drm_www/.

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