Alas, director Ellie Mooney has failed to take hold of two powerful performers to make this a coherent production. Broadway veteran and local professional Pamela Myers is so over-the-top as Aggravain that she appears to be doing a one-woman show, hamming up every scene she’s in onstage.
As Winnifred, Kaitlin Becker is using a style of humor that’s very contemporary. Unfortunately, she’s surrounded by barely adequate performers who are acting as if they’re in a traditional fairy tale. Max Monnig (the prince) can sing, but his acting skills are uneven. He takes too literally his character’s name, “Dauntless the Drab.”
Elizabeth Worley and Bryant Smith as a lady and knight desperate to be married (a baby is on the way) and Travis Custer as the minstrel who frames the tale have fine voices. But they aren’t the focal point of the show. The entire production, which started more than 10 minutes late for its first performance, felt under-rehearsed on opening night, especially the 16-piece orchestra and much of the clumsy choreography.
There’s a tongue-in-cheek number in Once Upon a Mattress about “Sensitivity” and another about a princess being a “delicate thing,” but there’s little that’s sensitive or delicate about this crass production.
ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, presented by Jersey Productions, continues through Saturday. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.