Once Upon a Mattress: A Classic Fairy Tale With a Modern Twist

Many moons ago, there was a kingdom tormented by the devious Queen Aggravian and her rule that no one in the land will marry until her son Dauntless does first; as the townspeople say, “throughout the land no one may wed, ’till Dauntless shares his wedding bed.” You may have heard of this kingdom before in the tale of “The Princess and the Pea”, but the story is not quite what you’ve heard.

The Town Hall Arts Center in downtown Littleton kicked off its 2016-2017 season with the hilarious comedy “Once Upon a Mattress”, under the direction of Robert Wells. This production featured Mark Shonsey as the hilarious Prince Dauntless and the incredible Taylor Nicole Young as Princess Winnifred the Woebegone.

The production was elegant and well put together in all aspects. The music timed perfectly with the lighting and actors onstage. The ingenious set was designed by Michael Duran, incorporating classic castle pieces capable of moving around the stage with ease. Terri Fong’s colorful costumes take us back in time to 15th century Europe. In addition, the choreography was jaunty and upbeat, showcasing the fabulous work of Kelly Kates.

Many people know the story of the “Princess and the Pea”. The prince wants to marry but every girl who comes to the court is unsuitable for his hand; they have horrible table manners, are too fat or too thin, or are just plain ugly. One night, a princess shows up at the castle and the Queen decides to test her by placing a single pea under twenty feathery mattresses. The Princess doesn’t sleep a wink that night and the two were married.

Yes, that is very similar to “Once Upon a Mattress”, but the modern version goes more in depth. It describes the various characters more and goes behind the scenes into what the original story didn’t tell. Not to mention, it adds catchy music and gut-busting comedy to the Hans Christian Anderson classic. After seeing this show, you’ll never look at fairy tales the same again!