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Rapunzel | Theatre Peckham

Theatre Peckham has given its entire community a chance to shine this Christmas with its production of Rapunzel. Giving the classic fairytale a distinctive Peckham twist, the production relocates the action to the ‘Barnet Magic’ hair salon and featuring a stunning array of wigs created by the Theatre Peckham community in a series of workshops with hair stylist Shamara Roper.

Rapunzel (Kellah-M Spring) has recently returned to her mother Maddy’s (Scarlet Gabriel) salon after an eighteen-year imprisonment in a tower in Epping Forest at the hands of her mother’s cousin Cassie (Jade Leanne Benjamin). She tells the story of this imprisonment, supplemented with song and dance and spreading important messages of acceptance and self-worth along the way.

The adult cast are supported by students from Theatre Peckham’s Academy, and indeed some of the strongest performances come from within the young company. The youngsters are split into two casts, the Braids and the Twists, with the Twists performing on press night. Strong vocal performances came from Kaiya Ashitey as 13-year-ol Rapunzel and Flo Swann as Lucy, while Goldendaniel Osidarohwo as 10-year-old Dignity, Ezekiel Ashitey as Pat and Viola Atigah as DC Poppins all displayed excellent comic timing.

Comedy is definitely Rapunzel’s strength, with the plot losing its way at times. It can also be a little difficult to follow in the speaking scenes, particularly from the back of the theatre, due to some sound issues and inconsistent micing. However, it comes back into its own in the musical numbers, written by Geoff Aymer and composed by Jordan Xavier. A number of refrains run through the piece, most notable being ‘Barnet Magic’, which I’m sure many audience members will be humming for weeks. Villain Cassie (Jade Leanne Benjamin) also gets to showcase her vocals in a classic number outlining her evil plan, and there is the necessary audience participation in the Pat Pat song at the beginning of the second act.

It’s not high art, but who goes to a Christmas show expecting that? What it does provide is an opportunity for young performers to test their skills in front of an audience, and the chance for the community to come together at Christmas and see themselves represented on a stage. It may not be perfect, but for a performance full of heart and hair, head to Theatre Peckham to catch Rapunzel this Christmas.

Rapunzel runs at Theatre Peckham until 24 December. For more information and tickets, follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review


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