Rapunzel: The Lockdown Panto at St Helens Theatre Royal Online
This week at 1.30pm, St Helens Theatre Royal invites audiences onto the international stage of the internet for a special lockdown edition of Rapunzel, streaming live on Facebook and Instagram. With the safe distance imposed by the strange crisis in which the global community now finds itself, the cast come together to perform their separate parts in a piece that fits together beautifully. This is an absolutely amazing idea which really puts the viewer at the epicentre of the performance, providing something accessible to all that demands laughter and participation as children shout out at their computers, momentarily forgetting the walls that designate separate spaces.
It’s a joy to gather around screens with all the household for a short time to follow a story with which everyone can relate, a story that is contemporary, delightfully humorous and perfectly imperfect, elevated by the thrill of being improvisational. Rapunzel is a familiar tale, but its interpretation through the rhetoric of the lockdown caused by the current pandemic breathes fresh life into the classic – indeed dated – story of a damsel in distress.
The small space captured by the camera is exploited to its full capacity through impressive choreography and editing skills, but the improvised costumes make for the icing on the cake – especially the lid of a pot standing in for a crown on the royal head of Warren Donnelly as the king.
Abigail Middleton as Fairy Anna(logue) and James Lacey as the witch carry the stage in all its glory to the screen, while Samantha Palin delivers a striking performance as the queen, singing I Wanna Dance with Somebody accompanied by dancers. Lewis Devine is also excellent as an exaggerated and extremely funny Daft Dave, who unwittingly stirs trouble in the kingdom.
Rapunzel: The Lockdown Panto is available to view on St Helens Theatre Royal’s Facebook page from 12th April until 18th April 2020. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.