Once Upon a Mattress | Upstairs At The Gatehouse (upstairsatthegatehouse.com)
Once Upon a mattress at the Gatehouse

A comedy musical retelling of the classic fairytale ‘The princess and the pea’  

The story is set in a long time ago in a far away kingdom ruled by an over baring Queen  (Julia Faulkner) who won’t allow her son Prince Dauntless (Theo Toksvig-Stewart) to marry, finding fault with every princess who dares try for her sons hand, as if that wasn’t bad enough she has forbidden anyone else from marrying until the Prince gets hitched. Things come to a head when Royal minister Sir Harry discovers his girlfriend lady Larkin is pregnant, seeking to avoid court gossip he goes on a quest to find a suitable wife for the young prince and returns with princess Winifred from the swamp kingdom: smart, no nonsense and a good swimmer to boot, Winifred instantly catches the eye of Prince Dauntless and charms everyone else in court...Everyone that is except the Queen, in a bid to get rid of the new comer she insists that Winifred must pass a test to prove she is a ‘True Princess’, of course the game is rigged but Sassy Winifred is not about to take matters lying down.... 


This is a fun if slightly whimsical show, the style is in the same vein as Gilbert and Sullivan but with more ballads and less innuendo. I thought casting was excellent especially Julia Faulkner as the Queen and Beth Burrows as princess Winifred, also Steve Watts was fantastic as the mute King Sextimus. But over all I thought all the cast played their roles very well and the show was very well choreographed and put together.


Also it has to be noted that the costumes were AMAZING! lots of bright colours and geometric prints like some kind of crazy fairytale couture, honestly I’ve seen shows at the Royal opera house which didn’t have anything like this level of wardrobe style and co-ordination.
So with that in mind it’s a shame that the one thing that really let this production down was the set. It was a total car crash, it looked like they spunked the entire budget on wardrobe and then had to go cap in hand round local primary schools to see what they could borrow. In fact having checked the credits and discovered it was the same lady (costume designer Giulia Scrmieri) who did both set and wardrobe I have sneaking suspicion that might actually have been the case!

But all doubts aside this a great little show, well performed with some great musical numbers and some genuine laughs, a feel good night out for any theatre lovers in North London. 
5th-29th March upstairs at the Gatehouse tickets £18