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Pillow talk at the Landor set to hit the high notes



Preview by Paul Nelson

THE next musical offering at the Landor Theatre, in Landor Road, Clapham North, is to be one of the great New York comedy shows, Once Upon a Mattress. It is a delightful re-telling of the fairy story, The Princess and the Pea.

With true irreverence, the story has a few twists.

The Prologue, sung by the Minstrel, sets the scene. The kingdom is in a sorry state. Placed under a witch's curse, King Sextimus has been struck dumb and will never talk until the Mouse devours the Hawk. Experiments with large mice and small hawks have all been failures.

Queen Agravain, a marathon talker, has assumed power. She has decreed that no-one in the kingdom can marry until Prince Dauntless (the Drab) is married to a true princess of royal blood.

The Queen has a Royalty Test, and 11 contenders have so far been dismissed on the grounds that they are not of royal blood. The Queen always makes the last question so difficult the would-be bride fails.

In the castle, Lady Larken and her lover, Sir Harry, determine that, marriage or no marriage, they are going to be parents. Finding a princess for Dauntless is therefore a matter of some urgency.

After undertaking a Perilous Labour, Sir Harry sends news he has found a contender, Princess Winnifred (the Woebegone), and she proves her determination, getting into the castle by swimming the moat.

How Winnifred copes with the tests, whether or not she gains the Prince's hand, and if there is a happy ending are plot points for you to find out.

The music is by Mary Rodgers (daughter of Richard), the extremely intricate rhyming lyrics by Marshall Barer and the show is presented by the excellent Robert McWhir. Fans of this tiny powerhouse of a theatre will be licking their lips in happy anticipation.

Once Upon A Mattress, Music by Mary Rodgers, Lyrics by Marshall Barer, Directed by Robert McWhir, Musical Supervisor Paul Harvard, Musical Staging Chris Stewart, Musical Director Tom Attwood. Presented by Robert McWhir for The Landor Theatre at The Landor Theatre, 70 Landor Road, London SW9 from Thursday, May 1 to Saturday, June 7 at 7.30pm. Tickets 7737 7276.

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