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    Review: Rapunzel

    LIVERPOOL EVERYMAN THEATRE, WEDNESDAY 2ND DECEMBER 2015

    It’s wacky, it’s outrageous and that’s just for starters! Yes, the Everyman Rock ‘n’ Roll pantomime is back and with more hilarious hijinks than ever before. From cheeky one-liners to pop culture chaos, Rapunzel is the must see show of the Christmas season.

     

    If all your favourite seventies and eighties kids tv shows came together to make a pantomime, it would probably look like this one - Think Brothers Grimm meets Fun House. Just when you think it can’t get anymore colourful or bold, that little bit of mischief tips the show right over to the brinks of hilarious genius. My sides were literally sore from laughing.

     

    The first thing that hits you is the music; it’s a life force that runs throughout the show. Complimented by a stellar, multi-talented cast, it’s a living jukebox of classics and lesser known wonders. David Bowie’s ‘Super Freaks and Scary Monsters’ was a surprise addition; an unsung pop culture gem that fitted the physical choreography perfectly. The songs are a pleasing, kaleidoscopic blend for all generations, with the entire cast giving it their all. The girl-band style ‘Uptown funk’ was terrific, with its well-rehearsed dance moves and soaring harmonies. It was ‘Billionaire’ however that proved extremely enjoyable. Sam Haywood’s voice could melt the snow, while Adam Bowler’s rapping Friar Tuck was an instant crowd pleaser.

     


    It isn’t all music though – the witty script twists the Rapunzel tale into a unique pocket of fantasy gold-dust. Mark Chatterton and Sarah Nixon are writers comparable to comedy legends like the Pythons; their script a clever mix of contemporary references and dry humour. Every joke hits the mark, while the cast complete the show with spot-on performances. Our leading lady, Stephanie Hockley, is full of energy and exuberance. You can see how much she loves being onstage, while her realistic performance as Rapunzel – including a beautiful rendition of ‘Titanium’ – lets you believe in the magic of fairy tales once again.

     

    Of course an Everyman pantomime wouldn’t be complete without the lovable Tucker and Keast. Like Laurel and Hardy or the Two Ronnies before them, their antics make for a jolly good time all round! With Keast’s Dudley Moore-esque expressions, plus Tucker’s wonderful rapport with the audience, the cheers that follow are testament to their comedy magic. If you thought they were brilliant before, you’re going to love them even more this year.

     


    Yet all good heroes need their villains, so who better than the team of Marianne Benedict and Tom Connor to add some mischievousness to the mix. Like a whirlwind of feistiness and fun, together they are an unstoppable force. Benedict’s vocals are as powerful as Poisonella’s magic, particularly in her glorious rendition of ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’. Meanwhile Connor’s Lord Bannister is a lovable and unlikely villain. With physical humour equal to the greats like Lee Evans and Norman Wisdom, his performance is second-to-none. He may have tried to win Rapunzel’s heart, but he certainly won all our hearts tonight.

     

    There’s no doubting the wonder that is an Everyman pantomime – the only thought is: what on earthy will they come up with next year? This bold and brilliant show is a 5-star masterpiece, with a cast that shines even brighter amongst the colourful scenery. Encore!


    PHOTOS (C) ROBERT DAY

     

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      Sarah's posts By Sarah O' Hara
      @TheLowdownMag


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