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A clever, twisted princess and pea

Review


In this cleverly twisted version of “The Princess and the Pea,” a moat-swimming bog princess rescues a much-daunted Prince Dauntless from his mother’s protective clutches — and saves a kingdom from forced chastity.

Wendy Bax plays the part of Queen Aggravain as though she had been, as Groucho Marx once said, “vaccinated with a phonograph needle.” Her aggressively strident performance captures the spirit of the conniving uber-momma to perfection. Her husband, the accursed King Sextimus the Silent, is skillfully portrayed by local theater veteran Tony Smith, who is so good at playing “befuddled” that we wonder how he finds his way home from the theater.

Ky Fifer (Sir Harry) handles the transition from arrogant sexist to sensitive lover with aplomb, while Kristin Barrett (Lady Larken) has great timing and a mobile face that brings comic relief to the pathos of her predicament.

Tyler Gould gives Prince Dauntless’ wide-eyed innocence and curiosity a restraint that really works in the small theater, where subtle facial expressions can speak volumes.

Finally, there’s Erin Zelazney as Princess Winnifred the Woebegone (“Fred”). From the opening notes of “Shy,” we, like Dauntless, are in love. She is a brassy belter with a solid voice, yet she conveys a plaintive insecurity that makes “Happily Ever After” a show-stopper.

A longer review is online at westsidetheatrereviews.blogspot.com.



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