Rapunzel and the Tower of Doom (5 stars)

This article is from 2009.

Rapunzel and the Tower of Doom

Each year, Bedfordshire-based storyteller and puppeteer, Andy Lawrence packs up his bag of tricks and heads to the Fringe. And each year, on arrival, he unpacks a 5-star show filled with unique surprises. Happily, this year is no different.

Rapunzel and the Tower of Doom follows in the beautifully-crafted footsteps of Lawrence’s previous masterworks, The Kings Got Donkey’s Ears, Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Elves and the Shoemaker. His storytelling manner is warm and friendly, peppered with a few good jokes and some intentionally groan-worthy puns. But what really sets Lawrence apart are his sets.

Using a fruit and veg market as his starting point, he has built a hugely inventive collection of boxes, which open up to reveal all manner of people and places. Rapunzel’s family home, the witch’s garden and, of course, the tower itself are plucked from hidden pockets and folds until you start to wonder what’s going to come out next – and from where?!

The Rapunzel tale can easily be told in under five minutes, but Lawrence embellishes and extends it for another fifty without any hint of padding. Re-named characters, always with a fruit or veg spin, keep the audience chuckling. As does the three-pronged approach Lawrence takes to most of the puppets, giving us a small, medium and large version (the last being Lawrence himself).

Although aimed at ages 4+, the imagination and skill which goes into the Theatre of Widdershins' sets would surely be admired by all ages.

Scottish Storytelling Centre, 556 9579, until 30 Aug (not 17, 24), 11am, £7.50 (£5).

Rapunzel and the Tower of Doom

  • 5 stars

Bad hair day? Pity Rapunzel: a mad witch climbing her locks every day. Ouch! Grimm tale returns to its dark roots. 'Very wonderful, beautiful puppets' - ***** (The List). 'Fantastic' - ***** (ThreeWeeks). Sell-out 2007/2008.

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