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Review: Rapunzel at Newcastle People’s Theatre

Rapunzel Reaches For The Stars!

Newcastle People’s Theatre
Until Sunday 14th December 2014

The show begins with Fairy L’Oreal setting the scene , because she is worth it. The King & Queen of Jesmond had a baby girl and through various magic spells they ended up losing her to Mother Gothel. She is imprisoned in a tower so that Mother Gothel can keep her youth. Will a prince come along to rescue her?

All of the essential ingredients are here for an entertaining pantomime. The jokes, the songs, the dame, the jester, the poor girl and the prince who wants to sweep her off her feet.

Most productions at Newcastle’s People’s Theatre rarely include songs and it made a change to hear the singing talents of the company. Emma Jane Richards, as Rapunzel, has a great voice whilst the duet of Happyfrom Craig Fairbairn, as Jimmy Jangles, and Prince Flynn, who was performed by Joe Robson, was very upbeat. Special mention should go to the multiple roles and quick costume changes by Roger Liddle, who had a great rendition of I Gotta Feeling.

Each musical number was accompanied by numerous young dancers in fantastic costumes. This had the effect of turning many songs into bigger production numbers. The show even had its Riverdance moment thanks to the quality input from the talented Clann Na nGael. Credit must go to those behind the scenes for the lighting, sound and stage management of such large numbers on stage.

Regular puns are necessary for a classic panto and their delivery requires the actors to have the skills of a stand up comedian. The bulk of the laughs landing on Steve Robertson, as the panto dame Queen Sadie, and on the jester Jimmy Jangles. Craig Fairbairn was in his element keeping the kids involved and ensuring the pace didn’t dip.

The evil characters know that they’ve done well when they register a negative reaction at the curtain call. Moira Gothel and Nathan Hussain did a great job as they left an impression on the kids, without slowing the action, as did Mother Gothel and Jasper respectively.

Anna Dobson has directed a canny panto which is full of parochial references and isn’t afraid to have a traditional sense of a variety show. Great musical numbers and amusing jokes ensure that there is much to like.

This review was written by Stephen Oliver for Jowheretogo PR ( Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook

Photos by Paula Smart:

2pm & 7pm – Saturdays
2pm – Sundays
7pm - weekdays (no performance on Wed 10th)

Tickets £14/£11.50/Family Ticket £46
Box Office: 0191 265 5020

Fairy L'Oreal      Sarah Scott
Mother Gothel Moira Valentine
Rapunzel Emma Jane Richards
Prince Flynn       Joe Robson
Queen Sadie    Steve Robertson
Jimmy Jangles Craig Fairbairn
Jasper       Nathan Hussain
King Jack of Jesmond/Noggins/Foiggins/Boggins/Scroggins       Roger Liddle
Tiddles       Sands Dobson/Mark Burden/Sally Cooper
Chorus      Fiona Morris, Annabelle Warwick, Annie Ranken, Nathan Tonks, Alex Carmichael, Olivia Marcella, Barbara Edmundson, Sarah Thomas
Babes        From Jill Errington Dance School
Dancers    from Newcastle High School for Girls and Clann Na nGael

Production Team        
Director     Anna Dobson
Musical Director         James & Hayley Russell
Choreographer          Julie Bowman
Assistant Director       Sean Burnside
Wardrobe          Dianne Edwards and Team
Stage Manager         Pamela Harris
Assistant Stage Managers          Annaliese Jane Bibby & Karen Dales
Lighting Designer       Lisa Harrison
Lighting Crew   Karen Dales, Dave Bailey, Izzy Waugh, Annaliese Jane Bibby, Ian Ross Willis, Scott Sweeting, Emily Jeffery, Lauren Allison, Martin Collins, Vanessa Aiken, Rhiannon Wilson
Sound Designer          Dave Bailey
Sound Crew      Izzy Waugh
Set Designer      Stuart Taylor
Set Builders        Sands Dobson, Joshua Gray, David Campbell, Ricky Harris
Set Painters        Wendy Bennett, Karen Dales, Anneliese Jane Bibby, Julie Bemment, Jenny Irvine, Ann Hood, Hazel Mynard, Stuart Taylor, Pamela Harris
Flyman      Dave Harvey
Props         Wendy Bennett
Stage Crew       Ricky Harris, Sara Jo Harrison
Children's Co-ordinator      Margaret Oliver


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