REVIEW: Rapunzel on the Watermill Theatre

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The story of Rapunzel, the gorgeous girl 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 provide 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 mother and father 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 formidable 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 consistently amuses the adults. There are some parts of Pantomime added just like the tune sheet and viewers interplay however usually, it’s pitched as a joyous youngsters’s present. Sometimes 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 in need of parody or satire and really feel lame and pointless.

Rapunzel is performed with wide-eyed innocence by Tilly-Mae Millbrook (who we noticed magnificently taking part in 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 slightly oddly depicted by thick inexperienced rope wrapped round her physique and a strand hanging from the ceiling and whereas this a sensible answer 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 forged on stage with a “Cheers mate”! Emma Barclay (Touchstone within the Watermill’s glorious outdoer manufacturing of As you prefer it) returns too as Pierluigi Ambrosi, as soon as once more displaying a great comedian contact as she drifts in and in and out once more to the story. Jess Lobo makes a high-quality 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 guide (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 kids just like the butterflies fluttering across the stage, the Wonderland Court docket costumes and a magical disappearance below a big fabric. There’s all the time one thing visually attention-grabbing to catch your eye, not least the 2 stagehands who create the weird all-seeing plant. The viewers interplay can be glorious whether or not the botanist Gothel searching for herbs or Patrizio looking for help on the way to get Rapunzel to let down her hair and a captivating younger woman on the balcony confidently explains the appropriate phrases.


The music composed by Tom Attwood, as traditional at The Watermill performed by the actor-musicians, are full of life easy poppy tunes that are immediately enjoyable with out being memorable with rock guitar in “Herb selecting” and beautiful saxophone and mandolin on “Ping Pong”. Sometimes the non-public mics have been introduced up too slowly. Nonetheless, 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 carry a smile to all and hopefully encourage younger youngsters’s love of stay efficiency. Actually, the younger Princess within the row in entrance of me on her first correct theatre journey seemed spellbound all through and shared delight along with her mother and father. And for an additional particular enjoyable household deal with there are Pyjama performances between twenty eighth December and 1st January with a pre-bookable scorching chocolate and a biscuit on the interval. An ideal Household outing.


Overview by Nick Wayne 


Score: ★★★★

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

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