RAPUNZEL or THE MAGIC PIG
by Annie Siddons.
Creation Theatre Company The Mirror Tent BMW Mini Plant OX4 6NL To 15 January 2011.
Runs 2hr 25min One interval.
TICKETS: 01865 766266.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 4 December.
Splendidly energetic performances hold potentially wandering material together.
This fantasy sits well in the Mirror Tent, where Creation Theatre’s created a decade of winter shows. Placed on one of the bleakest locations imaginable – the vast, near-empty car-park of a deserted motor factory – on a dark, cold winter’s night (or nearly as dark, cold afternoon), the tent’s light, the warmth of multiple air-blowers and the famous crepe-catering welcome audiences into the mirror-spattered walls and chairs clustered at small tables around the biggest table of all, the high stage upon, and out of, which the action explodes.
It’s a world made for fantasy and adventure, fit for the brash confidence of the mysteries and coincidences in traditional tales. Annie Siddons wrote her script for Kneehigh as a Christmas show at Battersea Arts. It passes quickly through Rapunzel’s earlier years. Her imprisonment by Mother Gothel arises quickly, the result of the old woman’s jealousy when she realises her once doll-like ward is becoming an adult. The puppet-child Rapunzel transforms into Amy Noble’s performance, the emerging personality bursting from the shell of childhood safety and obedience.
It’s her youthful impulsiveness and impatience at admirer Patrizio – the first person with whom she’s wished, or felt able, to express annoyance – that leads to problems after she leaves her high tower, created here as she stands on a stool with long branches held vertically around her.
Noble’s intelligent, inquiring expression shows Rapunzel’s come a long way from the pacific puppet learning about herbal medicine as she placidly accompanied the nice woman who rescued her, but cannot let her go.
And it’s this herbal skill which links her to Siddons’ other story element, the Magic Pig who provides Rapunzel with a trio of acorns that form the play’s version of the traditional ‘three wishes’ device.
A swaying multi-actor creature topped-off with head and rear-pieces, this pig’s matched briefly in design terms by the dark-cloud formed from Gothel’s most threatening appearance. By this time the protective foster-mother’s morphed into a vengeful witch.
Charlotte Conquest’s continuously active, athletic production expresses the spirit of Siddons’ sometimes indulgent script, taking the idea of ‘bringing to life’ to its heart.
Paulo: Rob Cavazos.
Prezzemolina: Rachel Donovan.
Pierluigi Ambrosi/Baldozi: Richard Kidd.
Rapunzel: Amy Noble.
Mother Gothel: Nicholas Osmond.
Patrizio: Martin Richardson.
Umberto/ Duke of Tuscany/Shark: James Sobol Kelly.
Director: Charlotte Conquest.
Designer/Puppets: Lucy Wilkinson.
Lighting: Ian Saunders.
Sound: Matt Eaton.
Composer: Jack Merivale.
Voice/Verse coach: Sarah Stephenson.
Movement: Aidan Treays.
Puppeteer coach: Polly Beaston.
Fight director: Philip d’Orleans.
Assistant director: Richard Kidd.
Assistant designers: Kate Matthews, Beata Csikmak.