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This original production by the MAC is 80% classical fairy tale, 20% Guillermo del Toro nightmare, and the horror stems entirely from Jo Donnelly’s creeping, punk-inspired Rumpelstiltskin. The play’s namesake may appear infrequently, but always to great effect. Her uncanny physicality, coupled with lines ridden with bitterness and dissatisfaction, injects terror in to the villain’s scenes.

Our heroine Emily (Doireann McKenna) is a 21st-century girl: spiky, independent and much cleverer than her arrogant royal love interest. McKenna may have a voice of sweetness and clarity, but she drives the plot with spunk, assertiveness and an insistence on gender equality.

The sparse wooden set is masterfully designed, featuring a walkway above the stage and poles on which to loll and climb on beneath: but it is somewhat underused, with the primary action taking place centre stage below.

The costumes reflect that typical, fairy tale assortment of eras and styles; but, sumptuous or humble, they are skilfully and creatively put together.

The score is modern and is at its best in upbeat numbers, but lyrically some ideas may be missed by more youthful audience members: this, though, is unlikely to dampen spectator spirits for this excellent new production.

Production Details
Production nameRumpelstiltskin
StartsNovember 26, 2015
EndsJanuary 3, 2016
Running time1hr 50mins
ComposerThomas Hewitt Jones
Book writerMatt Harvey
LyricistMatt Harvey
DirectorLotte Wakeham
Musical directorMalcolm Newton
ChoreographerCressida Carre
Set designerColin Falconer
Costume designerNerea Villares
Lighting designerDerek Anderson
Sound designerAndy Graham
CastDoireann Mckenna, Jo Donnelly, Michael Lavery, Tom Giles
TechnicalSimon Bird
Stage managerNoleen Stevenson
ProducerEgg, MAC, Theatre Royal Bath
VerdictMusical family show with humour and foreboding in equal measure
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