CAREY - The fairy tale of "The Princess and the Pea" is retold with a comic twist as Carey High School presents "Once Upon A Mattress," which opened last weekend in the school auditorium. This week, the show is to be staged at 7 p.m. today, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.
In a far-away Medieval kingdom, Prince Dauntless is looking for a suitable bride. His mother, Queen Aggravain, has taken it upon herself to round up all the eligible young women and run them through a series of tests to screen them. She claims she wants only the best for her only son.
Her father, King Sextimus, cannot utter a word in his son's defense. A curse has left him speechless.
Dauntless is tired of having all the lovely women turned away because of the strict elimination process.
Jonathon Fahl, Logan Niederkohr and Dalton Billock portray the prince and his parents, respectively.
Dauntless seems to have no backbone to resist his domineering mother and find a spouse on his own. By royal decree, other young lovers in the kingdom cannot marry until Dauntless does.
Lady Larkin and Sir Harry are especially concerned because they are expecting a child. Soon, it will be hard to conceal their secret. In the roles of Larkin and Harry are Hannah Vaughn and Ben Kromer.
The queen reluctanly agrees to let Harry search the neighboring kingdoms for more potential mates for Dauntless. Harry returns with Winnifred the Woebegone, whose buoyant personality makes up for the disheveled physical appearance she has acquired from the long journey from the swamps. Jasmine Manns plays the part of Winnifred, who prefers to be called "Fred."
Dauntless immediately is taken with the unassuming girl who swam the moat to meet him.
As usual, Aggravain is cynical. She consorts with the wizard, played by Devon Layfield, to devise a different test for this newcomer. The minstrels and the jester (Cody Smith, Arnesheih Mitsch and Taylor Fletcher, respectively) decide to eavesdrop, discover what the test might be, and inform Dauntless and Winnifred.
An especially funny and touching scene ensues as the silent Sextimus has a "Man to Man Talk" with Dauntless. Other tunes from the musical include "Shy," "Spanish Panic," "Very Soft Shoes," "Song of Love" and "Happily Ever After."
The kingdom's women are played by Sarah Walter, Haley Miller, Brooklyn Gibson, Amanda May, Kayla Keller and Victoria Rechtenbach. Ellen McDougle portrays Princess 12 and Larkin's nightingale.
Playing the knights are Zach Hark, Evan Hyatt, Devon Huffman, Andrew Stoepful, Matt Fruth, Zach Logston and Levi Hill.
The ladies in waiting are Victoria Woods, Katelyn Seifert, Briana Scott, Kayla Wood, Christy Wickiser, Kristina Nusbaum, Taylor Young, Allison Keller, Katie Driggers, Mary Jo Bash, Sadie Vaughn, Diana Nordyke and Savanna Day.
In the end, friendship, love and lots of patience overcome the plotting and secrecy. All the lovers are brought together and the king regains his voice, even as the meddling Aggravain loses hers.
Jennifer Hill is directing "Once Upon a Mattress" with Heather Harley assisting. Vivian Gery is the vocal director, Phillip Miller directs the orchestra, and the crew consists of Adam Hyatt, Alex Lamberjack, Bailey Griffin, Jacob Hill, Ryker Scott and Hunter Jacoby.
Tickets are $8 at the door.