FamilyFestive 15/16North WestPantomimeReview

Rapunzel: Hairway to Heaven – Everyman Theatre, Liverpool

Writers: Sarah A Nixon and Mark Chatterton

Director: Mark Chatterton

Reviewer: Jamie Gaskin

Sexy Fairies are a regular panto feature – but here in Rapunzel we have a saxy sexy Fairy. When Good Fairy Stardust (Martina Isibor) isn’t waving her wand she is often seen in the musician’s pen weaving her magic on a saxophone. This is typical of the terrific teamwork that drives this great annual spectacular (The Everyman’s Rock’n’Roll Panto) which makes full use of the many exits, trap-doors and sky-hooks available in this luxurious space.

Adam Keast leads the comic capers as Horace with an irrepressible twinkle, he is ably aided and abetted by Francis Tucker as his partner Doris the Dame. Together they juggle with the script popping in ad-libs much to the bemusement of others. Stephanie Hockley as Rapunzel, proves she’s not just a dumb blonde with extremely long-hair but can hold her own when it comes to banter and a shifting script.

It is a close-run thing as to which is the louder – the music or the costumes. Dinah England is to be commended for her outrageous, colourful costumes and props. Just the thing when your actors are performing in a space more befitting a barn. The over-the-top special effects and lavish staging ensure that we have that great feeling of being whisked away into a world of fantasy.

The audiences are only too ready to join in the many upbeat numbers blasted out in this very high-energy show. Predictably if you’re performing Rapunzel here then there’s going to be a Longhaired Lover from Liverpool. Even the very young seem determined to join in the songs.

The usual “behind you” chants are neatly tailored by hijacking the classic “I am Spartacus” to an “I am Rapunzel” chant eagerly taken up by the audience to stop our heroine being married off to the baddie by the wicked witch – Marianne Benedict as Poisonella is a stunning witch with terrific stage presence. Benedict milks all the hissing and catcalls with huge delight, confirming the idea that bad girls have more fun. As ever multi-rolling is the order of the day with Adam Bowler taking the honours with at least five different guises including Friar Tuck Biscuit. And his pal Nicola Hawkins is an excellent Will Scarlet.

Dreadful puns, double entendres and smutty jokes pepper the script which also weaves in a Dalek and The Clangers in this very intergalactic version of the original Grimm fairy tale. Just be careful where you choose to sit you could be showered by a water pistol or worse -lusted after by Doris.

Rapunzel is a real Christmas cracker – Oh yes it is!

Runs until 23rd Jan 2016 | Photo: Robert Day

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A Christmas Cracker

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