Review: Enchanted Entertainment presents Rapunzel at Tyne Theatre

Review: Enchanted Entertainment presents Rapunzel at Tyne Theatre

Rapunzel – A Tangled Tale

Tyne Theatre and Opera House -8th April 2023

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love a good pantomime and Enchanted Entertainment did not disappoint with their Easter production of Rapunzel – A Tangled Tale at The Tyne Theatre and Opera House this evening.

We join the action as the beautiful Fairy Liquid (Jesse-Jae Davis) introduces the story at its conclusion before taking the audience back in time to start at the very beginning. The audience is introduced to Queen Karen (Lewis Denny) and King Cuthbert (Chris Casserly) who are expecting the arrival of their new born Princess Rapunzel (played as an adult by Ellena Bacon.) The princess is promptly whisked away by the villain of the piece Gothel (Harriet Bacon) due to a contractual misunderstanding between the King and the wicked enchantress. Eighteen years passes before the handsome Prince Collabro (Matt Pagan) comes along to rescued the stricken princess from her incarceration with the assistance of palace helper Silly Billy (Bobby Davro)resulting in a very satisfactory happily ever after.

The set for this production, provided by UK Productions is very impressive taking us from palace to tower through village scenes and a haunted forest very effectively. There are some great upbeat musical numbers right from the outset which frame a colourful show. The choreography is provided by the Panto Awards 2023 nominated choreographer Kerry Blaskett-Weatherall and she does a marvellous job with this production which may bring another nomination in the awards in 2024. 

The cast all play their parts very well and it was a delight to hear the wonderful vocals of Chris Casserly as King Cuthbert back on the stage at the Tyne Theatre and Opera House. I did feel that Chris and his wife Queen Karen were somewhat under utilised during the show. A special mention to pro dancer Jordan Nesbitt who is always present in his performance and is active even when he is not dancing as a member of the all important ensemble. 

This pantomime had all the elements anyone would want from a production in this genre including patter songs, silliness, slapstick and romance. There is a fine line between traditional and old fashioned which may have been straddled this evening at times. The Princess was every bit the Disney simpering love-lorn female which does not really reflectmodern times or sensibilities. 

During the performance, there were a number of technical issues. The sound seemed unbalanced and harsh, and the lighting operator lost control of one of the movers which was a little distracting. The lighting lacked depth due to the technical team not utilising the Tyne Theatre’s many lighting points to their fullest effect. There were a number of rogue or missed flying cues which saw cloths start to come in when they were not meant to and a lengthy delay between scenes at one point in this second act. That said, this did not distract from the enjoyment and delight the audience clearly experienced from this entertaining pantomime.

Seasoned performer, Bobby Davro, very much carries this show and his audience participation contribution at the end is something I have not seen before and works particularly well. There are some superb panto staples performed by various members of the cast which are also an absolute delight. 

There are only two more performances of this Easter pantomime for you to enjoy and it is magical, funny and great for the whole family at The Tyne Theatre and Opera House. Catch the performances on Sunday 9th April at 1pm and 5pm.

– Stephen Stokoe

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