Review Date: March 1 2020
Performance: March 1 2020
Location: Epstein Theatre, Liverpool
Duration: 120 Minutes incl. Interval
Age Rating: 8+
Rapunzel has just made a special appearance, coming down from her tower to grace us with her presence at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre.
“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!” I’m sure most of us are familiar with those famous lines. The beloved tale of our beautiful Princess Rapunzel, captured and hidden in the tallest tower for all her life, has been reimagined many times, and it has now been brought to life on stage here by Immersion Theatre. There are many variations of this story, with changes about how and why Rapunzel came to be in the tower, how she came to escape, and whether she will ever get her happy ending? The one constant in the story are the must-have characters: the King and Queen, Rapunzel, the Wicked Witch and, of course, Prince Charming.
The production certainly opened with a bang: from start to finish, the light effects zoomed, bounced and flashed about the theatre, more than I’ve ever seen in another pantomime before. However, the show description doesn’t mention the “p” word, so I was unsure just what kind of production to expect. I was quickly made aware of what it was when Chester The Jester – everybody’s favourite trusty, wacky, shouty and wild panto sidekick – bounded on to the stage. This kind of supporting character always has the audience (especially the little and big kids!) laughing out loud all the way through, and this was no exception.
Though the set was quite minimal, with very little moving scenery, what did help was the thorough detail in the scenes such as the trees of the forest and the bricks of Rapunzel’s tower. For a scaled-down backdrop, the costumes were really quite extravagant, and the design and quality of the outfits (think heavy velvets and metal buttons) really depicted that this was an old-school fairytale.
The cast were lively and very animated: depending on if the mood was sombre, happy or wicked, all of the actors adapted perfectly between the scenes. My only criticism would be that on their own the dancers did well, but together they struggled to be in sync with one another. But each cast member depicted their characters perfectly, and the beautiful, delicate and naive Rapunzel was a delight from beginning to end. The stand-out star to me was, strangely, the wicked Mother who kept Rapunzel locked up her whole life. She was so funny and engaging throughout the whole show, and her singing solo absolutely knocked me off my feet.
Even if some elements leave a little to be desired, if you enjoy pantomimes, or if you have small children and want a night of fun as a family, I would definitely recommend Rapunzel, as there are laughs and gasps aplenty.
Target Audience: Children Aged 8+
Content: No Content Likely To Offend
Overall Rating: 8/10 – Very Good
For more information about Rapunzel, click here.