Saturday, October 18, 2008

Review: Once Upon a Mattress - Goldenstone Productions

I saw Goldenstone Productions Once Upon a Mattress tonight. I'm happy to say that Goldenstone has done it again.

It is a delightful, fun, fast paced show that will make you laugh. Not only laugh, but also smile with all the antics of the memorable characters. Fred (the princess of the swamps pictured right) played by Victoria Howland, was adorable and oh-so-funny. As a perfect foil to her princess, was Rich Hack as Prince Dauntless.

Another favorite was King Sextimus, a (mostly) mute role played mostly in hilarious pantomime by the very talented Doug Hoffman. The beautiful (in looks and sound) Lady Larken was played by Amanda Quigley who is always a delight to watch. I also enjoyed the King's partners in crime, the Minstral (Wendell Scherer) and the Jester (Daniel Farcher). I especially enjoyed the "Soft Shoe" number that the Jester performs. Lisa Lynds made a very wonderful Queen, and the Wizard (Thomas Netter) was a delightful surprise.

The rest of the ensemble was strong vocally and in acting, as per usual with the group. I loved the little characteristics each person brought to the show, in the little funny bits they did and the strong dancing. They were as entertaining to watch as the leading roles.

Kevin Archambault's Direction was wonderful and the choreography was sharp, well thought out and added a whole new level to the piece. It was very entertaining to watch the cast as they flowed though the balanced layouts. Richard Prouse's set was beautiful as usual. His work always impresses. Loved the spinning tower and the wonderful set pieces that worked so beautifully together.

As many of you know I love Liz Gerbi's musical direction, and she did an exceptional job with the cast and band. Kris Flick did an amazing job on costumes, they were beautiful and so very vibrant. Although, I would expect nothing less from her work. The show was well lit, sound levels were very well balanced, given the difficulties in working in that theater, and the lighting design was perfect.

There were some small issues with microphones, but it was a minor distraction. The only other perennial picky complaint is the failure, at times, of certain cast members to cheat out. I was sitting house center, so I shouldn't have seen as much profile and backs of actors as I did. I love to watch all the delightful expressions on the faces of the cast members, so I will always be disappointed when I can't see that.

This delightful show will be running for the remainder of this weekend and all next weekend at SUNY Ulster in Stone Ridge. Shows are Friday & Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm There will also be a 3pm performance on 10/25. Tickets are available online here:

I can recommend highly this charming take on a beloved fairytale that will make you laugh and leave you smiling (and humming) as you walk out the door.


Anonymous said...

I also saw it it was wonderfuly funny, charming, beautifaly directed Kevin Archamault is a genius. I very much enjoyed the performances of Lisa Lynds, Victoria Howland, Rich Hack,Wendle Schere, daniel Farcher, and Thomas Netter who was especially funny as ... well you'll have to see the show to find out what he is in the second act!

Anonymous said...

I saw the show last night as well. What a HIT!!! The cast is so sharp and funny. Kevin Archambault's direction is brillant and his choreography never ceases to amaze me. What he get's out of any cast he works with is priceless. And then the set is another triumph for Richard Prouse - what a wonderful surprise mid show to see that scenic element (I won't spoil it too much). Victoria Howland, Rich Hack, Lisa Lynds, Doug Hoffman, Daniel Farcher and Wendell Scherer were all top notch. DON'T MISS THIS ONE FOLKS! THIS IS PURE FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

Anonymous said...

I went to see Goldstone Productions Once Upon a Mattress last night, what a waste of money. It was horrible, the lighting was poor and the sound was off. If you didn't have a headache from the lighting then you sure had one from the characters voices. The leads were off pitch and the altos sang in there hear voice the whole time. I just did not enjoy myself. It’s the third Goldstone play I have seen and Once Upon a Mattress is one of my favorites I thought this one would be different. Clearly I was wrong. I will NEVER see another again. Please don’t waste your time or money!!!!

Erica said...

Thanks for stopping by and adding your comments everyone ..

I'm very surprised by the last comment ... Goldenstone's productions have been consistently good, and this one was especially funny. I can't speak to this particular night since I wasn't there, but I just can't imagine the entire cast having an off night. This was a strong cast and one of the best musical directors.

Also I find it disturbing that this individual has sworn off going to see another Goldenstone production - I have seen poorly done productions locally, but never have I sworn off going to see another production by the same company, as directors, tech crew actors and many other factors contribute to the quality of the production.

Anonymous said...

We took our two 7 year old grandchildren to see their first play (other than school plays) and although our grandson was a little squirmy in his seat, they loved it and so did we. They talked about it all the way home and and during dinner I read about each actor to them. They were surprised and encouraged about the number of young people in the production. Thank you all for all your hard work. They asked me to tell you please do The Wizard of Oz for you next production!

magickat said...

I am so bummed to have missed this show. As someone who has known or worked with many of the people involved in this production I can only imagine how entertaining and joyful it was to see. I am surprised that someone would dislike it to the level they said they did and to, additionally, swear off an entire company based on one performance they may not have particularly preferred. It's art, it's subjective yes, but it also changes every night with every audience and with every cast and every show. To sign off on everything in the furture... that just doesn't seem to make sense to me.

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