music by Mary Rodgers
lyrics by Marshall Barer
book by Jay Thompson-Dean Fuller & Marshall Barer
directed by Martha Sawyer
Minstrel-Sara Freedman / Princess Number 12-Rachel Rosenthal
Wizard-Jeff Phillips / Lady Larkin-Heather Beardsley
Queen Aggravain-Miki Joseph / King Sextimus the Silent-Jim Pickel
Prince Dauntless-Alex Pevzner / Jester-Ray O'Hare
Knight # 1-Doug Geschelin / Knight # 2- Isaac Jordan
Lady Rowena- Peg Barry / LadyMerrill- Kayla Zaniboni
Lady Lucille & Nightingale-Diedre Tobin / Sir Harry- Jeff Hosenfeld
Princess Winnifred-Sara Cohen
This was my first visit to this spacious theater in Braintree. Over the past few years, the name kept popping up as a place that puts on a good show. Since I had never seen Mattress, I decided to accomplish two firsts at the same time. I attended a sold out Saturday evening performance. I was speaking tongue in cheek about the capacity of the place, it seats 65. The stage is just as tiny as the theater. Fitting the entire cast on it was almost impossible, but it was accomplished, and well done without any mishaps.
One thing I found out, Once Upon A Mattress has a horrible score. The songs are difficult to sing, and aren't very good. The daughter of the famous Richard Rodgers wrote the music. From what I heard that night, she didn't inherit her fathers talent. The cast did its best to fight the impossible fight. The show itself is funny enough to get by without music. I had several belly laughs, and more than enough chuckles.
The Queen [Miki ], is a magnificent actress. She portrayed the overbearing Queen with just the right amount of bravado, while at the same time complaining about her self made problems.
Alex was very good as the Prince who only had "marriage ," or at least a honeymoon on his mind. He was a weak willed boy, who needed a strong woman to love and wed him.
Ray is an accomplished stage personality. I have seen him sing and act in several shows. His little song and dance in VERY SOFT SHOES was a high light.
Jim as the mute, woman chasing King drew quite a few laughs from the audience. He got his points across without dialog.
Heather was another standout. a lovely looking girl, with a very nice voice.
Sara Cohen mugged her way through the show like a seasoned pro. A pretty girl who alternated between a wide eyed look, to a down cast forlorn expression. She had a clear, powerful voice that made the poor songs sound good. I can think of many shows that would have show cased her talent in a better light.
Three songs other than Soft Shoes, stood out, THE SWAMP OF HOME, SONG OF LOVE and HAPPILY EVER AFTER. I didn't go home whistling any of them, but they were pleasant.
Now that I have found this nice little place, I will have to fit a few of their shows to my schedule. ART is the next play, showing in May. I think I will take this one in. Where can you sit in the rear of the building, and still be just five rows from the stage?
The dates on the front page of the Playbill, were in conflict with the dates on the inside. I would suggest calling to confirm and make reservations. .