Tuesday, May 9, 2017

reviews - ONCE UPON A MATTRESS - Theater Works

Alexandra Utpadel (center) and Cast
Photo by John Groseclose
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through May 14th.

".The witty and whimsical musical comedy Once Upon a Mattress is receiving a sumptuous production at Theater Works, featuring beautiful creative elements and a talented cast led by Alexandra Utpadel. ...set "many moons ago" in a faraway kingdom in Europe where Prince Dauntless is desperately searching for a princess to become his wife. ...His overbearing and unscrupulous mother the Queen has no intentions of letting her son wed, so she keeps devising ridiculous tests that none of the potential brides can ever pass. ...The score..includes numerous toe-tapping tunes, and the book,...features several humorous characters and some fun plot elements. However, there are a few moments when the show feels padded, due to a couple of slightly lackluster musical numbers and contrived plot twists. ...Alexandra Utpadel's bright, belting, and beautifully clear voice and her charming personality combine to deliver an incredibly enthusiastic portrayal of Princess Winnifred...
Ryan Malikowski is appropriately meek and mild as the mother's boy Prince Dauntless...Malikowski's sweet voice and sunny disposition work well for the charming Prince. Shandi Ilyse is a force to be reckoned with as Dauntless' fast-talking, steamrolling, domineering mother, the Queen. Ilyse has a perfect command of this controlling woman....As the secondary lovers of the piece, Kathlynn Rodin and Joshua Vern have beautiful voices that soar ...Peter Hart is quite good as the long-suffering King who is mute, so he has to pantomime his feelings....(Chris) Hamby's direction is smart, instilling some nuance into the comical roles ...while Paul Pedersen's choreography delivers plenty of fun, high flying steps. Steve Hilderbrand's music direction derives a beautiful, lush, full sound...Brett Aiken's set and lighting design deliver some eye-popping moments...Once Upon a Mattress may be a somewhat slight show, with a few unnecessary moments....Theater Works' production... has a great cast and excellent creative elements and makes for a frothy frolic and a lot of fun. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

".....“Once Upon A Mattress” has a pleasant, if undistinguished, Mary Rodgers score...in Theater Works dynamic production it becomes frivolous entertainment.  There’s nothing profound here but you’ll enjoy a madcap distraction.  Chris Hamby’s sleekly paced and well cast staging zips along...Elaborate and colorful costuming adds as does Steve Hilderbrand’s bright and accomplished orchestra ...a near-perfect cast headed by Alexandra Utpadel’s funny ...Princess Winnifred ...has a rollickingly good time as she relishes the zany comedy she executes artfully to keep the audiences amused.  No less comically dynamic is Ryan Malikowski’s dour Prince Dauntless who is held back by his pushy mother, Queen Aggravair, played with upitidy snobbery by Shandi Ilyse...“Once Upon A Mattress” is a delightfully fun romp through an ancient palace that has a fair number of subtly injected contemporary parallels.  In Theater Works crisp and nice looking production, “Once Upon A Mattress” is nonsensical amusement. " --Chris Curcio, KBAQ (click here to read the complete review)

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