Rapunzel: Hairway to Heaven
The Liverpool Everyman Theatre
November 28 – January 23
Writers: Sarah A Nixon & Mark Chatterton
Director: Mark Chatterton
Set & Costumes: Dinah England
Music: Tayo Akinbode
Choreography: Jenny SawyerCast: Marianne Benedict, Adam Keast, Stephanie Hockley, Tom Connor, Francis Tucker, Martina Isibor, Sam Haywood, Nicola Hawkins, Adam Bowler
It’s December, It’s Christmas and it’s time for The Everyman Theatre Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto which, this year, is Rapunzel: Hairway to Heaven and is just as fun, frenetic and fantastic as ever.
Think you know Grimm’s fairy-tale of the poor princess with the elongated follicles who finds herself locked in the tower? Think again, because what writers Sarah A Nixon & Mark Chatterton have managed to achieve with this script – Space Hopper an’ all – is so far removed from that particular fantasy as, say, Ian Fleming from Marcel Proust but nevertheless remains a gloriously uproarious delight.
Of course having an exemplar cast headed by Adam Keast and Francis Tucker is always going to help and where these two get their energy to inject such enthusiasm into proceedings year on year is an interview question just waiting to be asked.
Yet it is obviously not just these who make the show what it is: Oh No It Isn’t! And with the delightfully nasty Marianne Benedict is the despicable Poisonella and Tom Connor as the Dimbo Suitor Lord Alistair Banister, the boos and catcalls are more deafening which, in pantoland, is clearly a true voice of confidence. Martina Isibor is true joy as Fairy Stardust and with Sam Haywood as Hood, there are bound to be a few beating hearts in the auditorium and when aided and abetted by the lovely Stephanie Hockley, it sets the seal and what is clearly a show not only aimed at the children, but also the mum’s and dads. That they can both act and sing sublimely adds to the evening no end too.
And lest we forget that when the actors aren’t running around like rabbits on a muesli rave, they are picking up their plethora of musical instruments and delivering the soundtrack live and in full Dolby HD Surround sound too! Now there’s talent.
The set is magnificent, particularly when coupled with flies and screens that this show incorporates, the costumes are big and bold and, frankly, unforgettable and the choreography is so cleverly staged – especially during one slow-mo fight scene – it is as though the actors have been whipped off to Blackpool to show that Strictly lot how it should be done.
All-in-all, Rapunzel: Hairway to Heaven is a Christmas Delight worthy of any stage but the fact that it is on this one, further cements the unique quality of The Liverpool Everyman Rock ‘n’ Roll Pantomime.