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REVIEW: Rapunzel on the Watermill Theatre


The story of Rapunzel, the gorgeous lady with golden hair who’s locked in a tower is greatest often called one of many Brothers Grimm’s 1812 fairy tales and for its well-known line “let down your hair” to present entry to her room. Annie Siddons has developed the story right into a full-blown Christmas youngsters’s leisure geared toward main faculty children however with a couple of parts for his or her dad and mom too by giving a complete again story to the Prince who turns into Rapunzel’s suitor. On this model on the delightfully intimate Watermill Theatre close to Newbury in Berkshire, we meet the Duchess (Miiya Alexandra) who has two sons, Paulo (Roddy Lynch), the bold evil brother and Patrizio (Loris Scarpa), her favorite son and chosen inheritor to the Kingdom. Rapunzel finds herself caught up within the battle between them.

The story has many darkish parts with child Rapunzel’s abandonment, her locking up alone for years, the blinding of Patrizio, Paulo chopping off his personal finger and the burial of the finger in addition to loads of assaults and abuse, but it’s staged in such a delightfully comical and inventive means that it hardly disturbs even the youngest within the viewers and always amuses the adults. There are some parts of Pantomime added just like the tune sheet and viewers interplay however typically, it’s pitched as a joyous youngsters’s present. Often some grownup comedy is shoehorned in like a sketch about inflation or the appointment of a Bunny as Chancellor and a particular adviser, however they fall wanting parody or satire and really feel lame and pointless.

Rapunzel is performed with wide-eyed innocence by Tilly-Mae Millbrook (who we noticed magnificently enjoying a number of characters within the Watermill’s socially distanced 2020 Christmas Carol) and her assembly with Patrizio within the Tower is fantastically performed to a comical romantic impact. Her well-known hair is quite oddly depicted by thick inexperienced rope wrapped round her physique and a strand hanging from the ceiling and whereas this a sensible resolution to the climbing scenes it’s a pity the 2 weren’t linked! Certainly, the theatricality of the answer turns into a working gag with a big hook getting used to recoil the hair into the tower and acknowledged by the solid on stage with a “Cheers mate”! Emma Barclay (Touchstone within the Watermill’s wonderful outdoer manufacturing of As you prefer it) returns too as Pierluigi Ambrosi, as soon as once more exhibiting a very good comedian contact as she drifts in and in and out once more to the story. Jess Lobo makes a advantageous skilled debut as Prezze one of many criminals, the one with a caring coronary heart, of Tuscany.

There are many visible gags and props and bodily comedy just like the David Attenborough e book (with Patrizio doing a satisfactory impression of the Naturalist’s voice), wild boars working riot and an enormous crown over the viewers. Director Lucy Betts and Designer Isobel Nicolson add numerous visible delights for the youngsters just like the butterflies fluttering across the stage, the Wonderland Court docket costumes and a magical disappearance underneath a big material. There’s at all times one thing visually fascinating to catch your eye, not least the 2 stagehands who create the bizarre all-seeing plant. The viewers interplay can be wonderful whether or not the botanist Gothel on the lookout for herbs or Patrizio in search of help on the best way to get Rapunzel to let down her hair and an enthralling younger lady on the balcony confidently explains the fitting phrases.


The music composed by Tom Attwood, as regular at The Watermill performed by the actor-musicians, are vigorous easy poppy tunes that are immediately enjoyable with out being memorable with rock guitar in “Herb choosing” and beautiful saxophone and mandolin on “Ping Pong”. Often the private mics had been introduced up too slowly. Nevertheless, within the tiny auditorium of the Watermill, we might nonetheless catch the phrases and the present was successfully lit by Alex Musgrave.

The manufacturing runs till 1st January with primarily morning and afternoon matinees and deserves the help of the native faculty communities for a joyous outing at Christmas that like Pantomime itself will deliver a smile to all and hopefully encourage younger youngsters’s love of dwell efficiency. Actually, the younger Princess within the row in entrance of me on her first correct theatre journey appeared spellbound all through and shared delight together with her dad and mom. And for an additional particular enjoyable household deal with there are Pyjama performances between twenty eighth December and 1st January with a pre-bookable sizzling chocolate and a biscuit on the interval. An ideal Household outing.


Evaluate by Nick Wayne 


Ranking: ★★★★

Seat: Stalls, Row E | Value of Ticket: £26

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