by Lorie Lewis Ham
Most of us are familiar with the old Hans Christian Anderson Fairytale the Princess and the Pea–especially the part about a young woman who claimed to be a real princess, and how the Queen gave her a test of whether she could feel a pea under 20 mattresses–if she could, then she was a real princess and fit to marry the prince.Debbie Metzler with the Enchanted Playhouse in Visalia has written a play with her own take on the story, which she directs along with Kay Whistler. In this version, the young Prince Eric (Alex Quezada) is being pushed by his father the King (Russ Robertson) to set aside his invisible friend Stanley (Noah Daniel) and find a princess to marry. Eric has not yet met a princess who interests him and really isn’t the least bit interested in finding one–he would rather read and spend time with Stanley. Trying to get away for a bit, Eric sets off on a walk with Stanley where he meets Princess Candace (Nollaig O’Donoghue)–who isn’t your typical princess–and they hit it off right away. While the plot in this version is a bit different, I really liked the different twists–I felt like they actually made the story more interesting and unique. I especially enjoyed Eric, Stanley, and Candace, who had a great chemistry together. And of course, there was still the traditional center of the story, the mattresses and the pea.
My eight-year-old niece loved the show! Her favorites were Stanley and Princess Candace, though she liked everyone. She also liked the fact that there really wasn’t a villain.
This is definitely one of my favorite shows that I have seen at the Enchanted Playhouse the last couple of seasons. Everyone did a great job and it is a nice mix of sweet and funny. Princess and the Pea is a perfect show to take the entire family to! The remaining performances are May 5, 6, 7, 12, and 13, and are presented at Main Street Theater, 307 East Main St. in Visalia, CA. Ticket information can be found on their website.
You can find more theatre articles, and other entertainment articles, in our Arts & Entertainment section.