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“An inventive, gently subversive treat”

The Egg’s Christmas shows are consistently a delight and this year’s Rapunzel, written by Annie Siddons and directed by Nik Partridge, is another inventive and gently subversive treat.

In Siddons’ retelling of the story, Rapunzel (Samantha Sutherland) is the happy-go-lucky adoptive daughter of the herbalist Mother Gothel (Peta Maurice). The pair live in close harmony with each other, the older teaching the younger everything she knows about the healing properties of plants. Then one day a neighbour points out that Rapunzel is now an attractive young woman and Mother Gothel flies into a temper and locks her in a tower – apparently as an act of ‘love’ to keep her away from danger.

The symbolism of the mother-daughter relationship, which rests on the mother’s desperate fear of her daughter ‘replacing’ her with a man is a stroke of genius and one the most fascinating and unsettling aspects of the play.

There is also a wealth of brilliant performances. Maurice is extremely funny when doubling as the prancing, posturing prince passed over as the royal heir in favour of his brother, especially when using physical comedy. Dorian Simpson routinely steals scenes as Ambrosio, the criminal with a sort-of heart of gold.

The whole piece slightly suffers from being on the long side, with the energy dipping just before the interval and the ending being a bit rushed. But there’s so much to enjoy about Partridge’s detailed and resourceful production, from dancing topiary to the joyfully grim severing of a finger.

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Production Details
Production nameRapunzel
VenueThe Egg
StartsDecember 6, 2019
EndsJanuary 12, 2020
Running time2hrs 20mins
AuthorAnnie Siddons
ComposerDavid Ridley
DirectorNik Partridge
Musical directorDavid Ridley
ChoreographerTim Casson
Set designerRosanna Vize
Costume designerRosanna Vize
Lighting designerJoe Price
Sound designerJonathan Everett
Puppet designerCharlotte Dubery
CastSamantha Sutherland, Alex Heane, Dorian Simpson, Joseph Tweedale, Martin Bonger, Peta Maurice, Rose Mcphilemy
Production managerLisa Hall
Stage managerBecky Vowles
ProducerTheatre Royal Bath
VerdictAnnie Siddons’ retelling of Rapunzel is a creative, multilayered piece of storytelling
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Rosemary Waugh

Rosemary Waugh

Rosemary Waugh

Rosemary Waugh

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