Director & Writer: James Lacey
Choreography: Sarah Walker
Not long after the lockdown, many Theatres started to broadcast archive footage of their productions which has proven a great way to keep spirits high during this troublesome time. Regal Entertainments and Theatre Royal St Helens have taken that one step further. They’ve cast, rehearsed, produced and edited a brand new panto across seven short episodes that are streaming across Facebook and Instagram.
What better title to choose but Rapunzel. Being stuck in a tower, desperate to see the world is pretty close to home at the moment. James Lacey embraces very clever references in his script such as the whole Kingdom being cursed by a lockdown to stop the Kingdom finding Princess Rapunzel. There are also jokes about social distancing, toilet rolls and more that maintains the right balance of escapism but also relevance.
Lacey not only writes and directs but is also the perfectly named Quarantina. Lacey portrays a full on drama queen, hamming up his role at every opportunity. He creates a great baddie that you want to boo but also adds a bit of a caring side like when Quarantina looks after Rapunzel.
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to magical creatures as not only is there Fairy Analogue (Abby Middleton) but a couple of episodes in we also meet Pixel The Pixie (Jenna Sian O’Hara). Both Middleton and O’Hara play their characters full of sweet sincerity. Their duet of Anything You Can Do is brilliant and their teamwork is a nice hat tip to how Theatres and many people are having to adapt to the digital age.
Lewis Devine’s very funny Daft Dave bounces across the screen, just ass you’d expect from the comedic character. Doing callbacks to a camera must be weird but he pulls it off really well.
Andrew Geater is the dashing Prince Percy with a stunning voice to match. Both Geater and Olivia Sloyan who plays Rapunzel manage to create chemistry between the characters without being in the same room which is thanks to their performance.
Completing the main cast is Warren Donnelly as King Harold and Samantha Palin as Queen Meg. Both have their moments in the piece. Palin’s opening of I wanna Dance With Somebody starts the production of with a dazzling start.
It wouldn’t be a panto without an ensemble of talented dancers and that’s not missing here either as Millie Davis,Ellie Fook,Jodie Taylor, Georgia Cowin are all in sync with each other to add an extra sparkle to the musical numbers.
Regal Entertainments & Theatre Royal St Helens have almost managed to pull off the almost impossible by producing a high spirited brilliant panto. With a clever, lighthearted script and upbeat musical numbers, you couldn’t ask for more from this extraordinary, ingenious panto.
*This production was streamed for free. However if you can The St Helens Theatre Royal is suggesting that people donate to the St Helens Star ‘Help our St Helens and Whiston NHS Heroes’ campaign here. Click here for more information on The Value For Money Rating