Marriotts Ridge show updates stalwart `Princess and the Pea'

School takes `Mattress' to lively new heights

April 11, 2008|By Allison Spada | Allison Spada,special to the sun

Allow yourself to be swept away into the land of princesses, jesters, and dancing swans in Marriotts Ridge High School's production of Once Upon a Mattress, a twist on the classic fairy tale, "The Princess and the Pea."

Once Upon a Mattress is a story of bravery, adventure, and most of all, love. The story begins with a hopeful young prince waiting eagerly for his mother, the queen, to finally approve a suitable princess to be his wife. And if the prince's anxiety isn't bad enough, citizens of the kingdom are forbidden to marry until the queen has approved the perfect princess for her kingdom. Nerves flying high, the citizens -- and the audience -- are on the edge of their seats, itching for the arrival of a new princess.

Marriotts Ridge took Mattress to a new level, injecting it with modernized costumes, dancing, and language. Some of these modern dances even included a rap song by the famous Soulja Boy. These creative enhancements, along with the highly energized cast, provided the audience with an innovative look at this traditional fairy tale. The colorful set and lighting offered the cast even greater opportunity to sparkle on stage.

Eric Stishan, playing the role of the mute King Sextimus, made the most of a role with no voice. His facial expressions and body movements were comical, and his standout performance demanded the audience's attention, with no need for words.

Madeline Whiting had no reservations when playing the role of the eccentric and extroverted Princess Winnifred. Her animated voice resonated throughout the theater, while her presence lit up the stage with her goofy yet deft dance moves.

And Noah Farrell played Prince Dauntless with charming innocence.

The supporting kingdom members, such as the Jester, played by Sam Ock, and the Minstrel, played by David Todd, provided constant entertainment and an excellent diversion from the other more traditional fairytale characters. The lively members of the ensemble flawlessly depicted the citizens of a kingdom, employing their proficient dance steps and singing voices.

The orchestra complemented the dynamic singing voices with upbeat songs. They were justly applauded for playing a varied array of musical numbers. The inventive lighting provided considerable enhancement to the scenes, which included flashbacks, slow-motion moments and royal balls.

Although we may not all live happily ever after, Marriotts Ridge offers this charming illusion in Once Upon A Mattress, a tale of the trials of true love and true courage.

Allison Spada, a student at River Hill High School, reviewed "Once Upon A Mattress" for the Cappies of Baltimore, a program in which students review high school productions under the direction of their teachers and vote on awards for outstanding performances.

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