‘Loads of Drama’ Column
Panto Review: Rapunzel
By Richard Mansworth
This year’s gaiety panto is based on the Disney fairy-tale Rapunzel. This production holds most of the fairy-tale like quality’s relatable to the classic tale with many distinctive touches, including Rapunzel’s wish for her 18th birthday to go to Penney’s and visit coppers for her 18th birthday!
The tale of Rapunzel is set around the outrageous and over the top, Panto Dame Nanny Ninny Noonah (Joe Conlan) and the flamboyant King Larry Lilly Loolah (Nicholas Grennell) who search for the teenage Rapunzel (Ciara Lyons) with magical golden hair as well as a voice of gold, as she went missing when she was a baby and was taken by the Evil Step-Mother (Kathyrn Rutherford) whose performance was show stopping with audience interaction and her fabulous musical numbers, “Mother Knows Best” and “Whatever Happened To My Part” (all in fabulous dazzling quick rigged costumes) and locked her in a magical tower to receive Rapunzel’s powers when she turned 18!
As always there is a prince charming involved along the way! Johnny B. Goode (Johnny Ward) who interacted superbly with the younger audience member, sweeps Rapunzel of her feet and wants to make all her dreams come through outside of the tower for her 18th birthday. After The Evil Step-Mother realises her “Darling” Rapunzel is missing, she set out on her quest along with her two henchmen Double (Donnacha O’Dea) and Trouble (Stephen O’Leary) from Cork, to find Rapunzel along the way and not without some outrageous show-stopping production numbers along the way including “Bigger” and “Enjoy Yourself” as well as another fabulous array of rearranged pop songs and numbers beautifully recomposed by the Musical Director Peter Beckett and played superbly as always by the Gaiety Orchestra.
The story of this year’s show holds developmental dialogue which develops the story through script and holds less scenic diversity than other years but certainly does not hold less creativity. The spectacle of Rapunzel’s revolving tower was the main attraction this year for many as well as the beautifully visual electronic display & the boat scene which saw Johnny B. Goode and Rapunzel float away to the tune of another joyous number.
Apart from all that Joe Conlan as Nanny Ninny Noonah was the real show stealer for me this year as any other years, as he is a well know Panto veteran of the Gaiety at this stage! Nanny is the typical Panto Dame Character ties the show together at developmental parts in the plot and is a general audience friend! In my experience of visiting the Gaiety theatre for the annual Panto, this was by far one of the most superior productions all around in every aspect from costume to direction I have seen to date and I have already booked for next year!