Sunday, April 20, 2008

More Mattress and Miller

It may be a little indulgent but I’m going to link to my post about AART once again, mostly because Bruce Miller has chimed in with a positive and well-stated comment that I recommend you read if you haven’t (you’ll need to scroll down to get to it). I can’t really add much to the wise words Mr. Miller puts forth but he does touch on one thing that I haven’t said specifically in any of my other comments: I think it is a better thing for AART to be discussed rather than dismissed. I hope this kind of discussion benefits AART because, while I may not have said it explicitly before, it is my very sincere hope that the company succeeds. Thank you very much for your comments, Bruce.

Also, I’ve wanted to augment my review of “Once Upon A Mattress” for a week now. As I tried to convey in my review, the show is a good time, full of wackiness and well-staged at the Mill. If anyone sensed a little reticence in my review to be madly, wildly positive about the show, it’s because I had kind of forgotten just how silly the script is. Even beyond that, it has a couple of loose threads that kind of dangle obviously that I had never noticed before. The whole subplot with the Jester’s father seemed very extraneous to me – and that was a shame because Derek Phipps made for an excellent Jester. I also never quite understood why the King, the Minstrel and the Jester all had to team up to sneak Lady Larken out of the Kingdom. Wouldn’t it have been more incognito for her to do it herself?

Maybe that’s over-thinking it but I guess in my opinion it can be entertaining to go to a show that doesn’t really engage the intellect but it’d be nice if it at least made sense.

Even so, Tom Width gathered a great cast for the show, many of whom I didn’t have room to praise in the review. Matt Polson and Katrinah Carol Lewis made for a smashing couple as Sir Harry and Lady Larken. Any show that gives Ms. Lewis a chance to sing is a winner in my book. Durron Tyre makes for a very engaging Minstrel; I’d love to see another show like “Plaid” where Mr. Tyre is even more front and center. And of course, Liz Blake was wonderful as Princess #12. But I won’t gush about her too much because my crush for her was superceded by my crush on Amy Kaeberle who I’ve enjoyed in everything I’ve seen her in since she was in SPARC’s “Cats.”

My only major disappointment was in Brett Ambler as Prince Dauntless, but some of that may be the script and another part may be expectation. I’ve loved Brett is so many things – from “Suessical” to “Urinetown” – I was looking forward to being wow-ed again. Instead, I found his performance pleasant enough but not much more.

Of course, the show really zings when Joy Williams or Audra Honaker is on stage. And I concur with Ms. Haubenstock who I think said that it was a shame that Jason Marks didn’t sing since he’s got such a great voice. But he mugs it up wonderfully as King Sextimus.

Once last thing (and for those of you who don’t know the plot of “Mattress” and don’t want to know it – stop reading NOW). Are you still reading? OK, then: As I remember “Mattress,” isn’t there a moment at the end where they take all of the stuff out of the mattress and yet, she still can’t sleep? And then they take the pea out, and she’s finally comfortable? Did the Mill include that part? I don’t remember it. Maybe someone can enlighten me.

1 comment:

JoePabst said...

Debra & I saw "Mattress" over the weekend and found it very enjoyable for all the right reasons! Dave -- the ending you were looking for is there (or at least it was on Friday night); but it's subtle. Fred climbed up on the bed and laid down, but then her butt raised up; Dauntless remembered the pea and took it out; Fred then sank down to a full-bodied sleep. Not as over-the-top as some of the other gags in the show, but a nice little tag.