The advantage of picking a lesser-known
Grimm fairy tale for a Christmas show is that the writer can use –
or ignore – as many of the traditional pantomime conventions as he
or she chooses. So Daniel O'Brien (aka Colin Blumenau) gives
Rapunzel a hip-hopping rapping prince as her rescuer from the
clutches of wicked weed Ragwort, makes the dame role into
green-fingered Hyacinth Horseradish and provides a wise old owl to
lead the forces of good. Oh yes, and there's a strong ecological
message tied up in it all.Abigail Anderson directs.
Rebecca Applin has provided some
catchy tunes for Chris Huntley to play and the cast to sing. [Will Hargreaves'
sets are storybook ones which allows the costuming to make its mark.
Our villainess Ragwort is the excellent Joanne Heywood, shimmering
away in green silks and the highest of heels. Thoroughly boo-able –
just as a baddie should be. Andrew Pepper's Sage is a no-nonsense
owl, dispensing good advice when asked but careful not to upset the
balance, either of nature or the storyline.
Heroine Rapunzel (Jasmine Gur)
doesn't have a great deal to do but let down her hair, take up a book
and generally bemoan her fate. Aiden Crawford's Prince Rapscallion
is a lively youth, bouncing along in his own fashion in spite of
everything Sir Stephen (Mike Onslow) can do to restrain him. Then
there's Hyacinth herself – Steve Wickenden in a purple wig and
many-flounced dress, the gardener in chief for the village.
Adults have fun picking up various sly
references, including (appropriately) the television detective series
Rosemary and Thyme. Rapunzel's parents are Sorrel
(Nerine Skinner) and Ginger (Alex Wadham), a gentle pair - even
if I'm not sure that I'd want them on my plate in the same dish. This
is billed as a pantomime but may well have an all-the-year-round
afterlife. Green issues are seldom out of the news and interest
children as well as their elders.