WHAT do you get when you mix one pea, 20 mattresses and a princess-to-be named Fred?
A raucous, romantic and melodic spin on the Hans Christian Andersen classic The Princess and the Pea, playing at the Koorliny Arts Centre this April.
Presented by Laughing Horse Productions and directed by Adam Salathiel, Once Upon A Mattress is a whimsical musical comedy adaptation by Mary Rodgers and Marshall Barer.
It’s the story of a lonely mummy’s boy prince and an overbearing queen hellbent on protecting her son and kingdom.
With time working against some of the ladies in waiting, Sir Harry must scour the land looking for the last remaining princess to marry the prince.
A mid-90s Broadway revival starred Sarah Jessica Parker and a 2005 Disney television version featured Zooey Deschanel and Tracey Ullman.
“Once Upon a Mattress is a story of love, laughter and a young princess coming of age,” Salathiel said.
“It’s a true Disney family-style show, complete with romance, laughter, danger, singing and dancing where everybody gets their happily ever after, after all.”
The main challenge, according to Salathiel, is directing a show that has an all-youth cast – everyone is 18 and under – and multiple levels of humour.
“It’s a production that has things youth will laugh at but humour that adults will understand and children will miss,” he said.
“The subtle nuances make this show highly entertaining, both for the cast and audience members watching it.
“Everyone needs to engage with the audience through singing, dancing and acting – even ensemble roles are vital to making the audience believe in the magic of the live theatre happening in front of them.”
First performing as a 10-year-old, Salathiel has been involved in theatre as an actor, director, producer and lighting and sound operator with the Old Mill, Kwinana, Roleystone, Phoenix, Marloo and Mandurah Little Theatres, Murray Music and Drama, Karratha Players, Dampier and Districts Repertory Company, A lad in sane productions, ARENAarts and the Mandurah Performing Arts and Koorliny Arts Centres.
Currently, he is artistic director of Laughing Horse Productions where he directed the company’s inaugural production The Pirates of Penzance in 2013, as well as Kecks, Shirley Valentine and Cut It Out.
Salathiel has also scored several awards and nominations over the years for best supporting actor, director, production, stage manager, costumes and set.
“Having performed in Once Upon a Mattress in 2006 at Roleystone Theatre, I fell in love with the storyline and ever since I’ve had the desire to see it performed by an all-youth cast,” he said.
“It has always been one of my favourite musicals – it’s a bright cherry with a lot of laughs.
“Although set in medieval times, the show has a lot of humour and large song-and-dance numbers that are guaranteed to have the audiences clapping and toe-tapping along with the cast.”
Once Upon A Mattress plays at 7pm April 7, 8, 14, 15 and 21 with 1pm matinees April 8, 15 and 22. Tickets are $25, $20 concession – book on 9467 7118 or at www.koorliny.com.au.
The Koorliny Arts Centre is on Sulphur Road, Kwinana.