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Rapunzel review at Cambridge Junction – ‘witty, warm and wacky’

Zelina Ribeiro in Rapunzel at Cambridge Junction. Photo: Claire Haigh Rapunzel at Cambridge Junction. Photo: Claire Haigh

It’s Rapunzel, but not as we know it. Cambridge Junction’s Christmas show, a co-production with Valentina Ceschi and Thomas Eccleshare’s Dancing Brick, is a liberating, left-field, three-handed retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairytale, sprinkled with quirky wit and sparkling with imagination.

We’re in Haaburg, a picture-perfect village obsessed with looking good and fitting in. Celebrated hairdresser Prince (Nelson Ekaragha) cuts the same bobs every day, but dreams of something wilder. Dame Gothel (Candy Markham) is his bride-to-be, a fashion-obsessed, triple-filtered Cruella de Vil: a gothic Regina George in a chic, white-fur jacket.

And deep in the forest at the top of a secluded tower lurks Rapunzel, a crazy hermit with a tangle of matted hair. She’s a Wookie in the woods with a heart of unrefined gold.

Ceschi and Eccleshare’s production follows Prince and Rapunzel’s blossoming romance with panache, gleefully jumping around Lily Arnold’s rotating set (dreadlocks bestrew the space like vines) to multi-instramentalist Chris Preece’s eclectic, ethereal accompaniment.

The whole thing’s a not-so-subtle stab at satirising a culture obsessed with sycophancy and selfies – a plea for creativity, self-expression, and wacky haircuts. It’s a bit rough around the edges, a bit woolly here and there, but it’s got far more heart than your average star-studded panto. Take your kids to Haaburg instead.

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Witty, warm and wacky alternative kids Christmas show from Dancing Brick and Cambridge Junction