By Kathy Yanchus, REVIEW STAFF
In a departure from more recent productions, Waterdown District High School’s musical theatre class will present the nonsensical Once Upon a Mattress, opening February 28.
Previous shows like Les Misérables and Fame were “heavy”, but this musical, a parody of the classic fairy tale Princess and the Pea, is much lighter fare, adding to the variety of shows staged over the years, said WDHS teacher and play producer, Keith Robson. Nonetheless, it’s challenging for the comedic timing it requires, he added.
“There are some great voices, great talent,” Robson said of the cast.
Among the almost 30 Grade 10 to 12 cast members, plus musicians and ushers, is Tyler Pegg, a Grade 10 student who auditioned “for any role” because he loves musicals. Pegg plays the jester and in his role as translator for the mute King Sextimus, puts his gymnastic skills to work performing a back handspring during the course of a dance routine.
Grade 12 student Meghan Riggs plays the narrator and minstrel, jumping in and out of the on-stage action.
“This is my first real comedy show. It’s so funny and surprisingly tough. The timing and every little detail is so important,” said Riggs, who was part of the chorus in the class production of Fame.
Both Riggs and Robson mentioned the beautiful new stage venue within the gymnasium that students will be performing on for the first time since the completion of the WDHS expansion, with seating for 600 patrons.
“It’s absolutely wonderful, spacious and there’s lots of room backstage,” said Riggs.
Grade 11 student Alicia McNamara, is excited at the prospect of being on stage for the first time. Portraying a kitchen wench, she’s enjoying the comedic storyline and the teamwork involved in such a large-scale production.
The Queen’s son, Prince Dauntless, who must be married before anyone else in the fictional kingdom is allowed to wed, is portrayed by Rylan Allen, a Grade 10 student, who played Gavroche in the school’s production of Les Misérables when he was a Grade 6 student at neighbouring Allan A. Greenleaf Elementary School, and has helped with sound for Waterdown’s Village Theatre.
There will be four shows, Feb. 28, March 1 and 2 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 3 at 3 p.m.
Tickets cost $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. They are available at WDHS between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.; at the Waterdown Café inside the Flamborough Family YMCA and at the Jitterbug Café, weekdays only, before 11 a.m. or after 3 p.m. Cash only at all three locations.