The Drama club brought the classic musical Once Upon a Mattress, its last major production of the year, to campus. Though not without its flaws, the students’ rendition is an adequate, high-quality adaptation of the original. Once Upon a Mattress is a comedic, musical retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale The Princess and the Pea. The show has hit Broadway theaters multiple times and is a bonafide classic in the theater space.
I have never seen a professional production of Once Upon a Mattress, but I can tell you this: the youth of the performers really did it justice. I might even go so far as to say that student actors are a better fit to perform this musical than adult ones. Once Upon a Mattress is a musical that tries to be silly at every step of the way and makes no effort being dramatic. High school students, compared to adults, capture that atmosphere more appropriately. The energy and charisma can be easily seen in the show’s performers. As far as casting goes, Drama teacher Kelsey McNeilly did a great job picking a role for the club. Each actor in the show seemed as if they were comfortable with their characters and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Singing should be the most important part of the musical; thus, my biggest concern going in was whether the students could do the original music justice.
Long answer short, they did. I actually would even say that for some pieces, the students’ rendition was better than the one the Broadway recordings. Any song with the Minstrel was automatically a standout, especially the one with The Minstrel, The King, and the Jester. The song had a youthful, fun tone that went great with the attitudes of the performers and how they carried themselves. The talented cast went above and beyond as far as the musical aspect of the show goes.
However, not everything was perfect with the school’s adaptation of Once Upon a Mattress. For some people, this show meant only a grade, and not a passion. Some students are noticeably less passionate about the play than others. All of the main characters do a great job, but some members in the ensemble make the disparity of quality in the acting very noticeable. However, that isn’t a huge blow to the show’s quality, as overall, the play is still carried by the main characters.
Watching Drama Club reenact Once Upon a Mattress was definitely worth the $8 admission. I believe that students have a responsibility to support clubs and recognize the talents that exist among the population, and going to this show was a great way to check both these boxes. Drama club is quickly gaining traction amongst the student body, as they put out play after play of quality. Students can look forward to more of the same, high quality, student productions that we are blessed to have on campus.