Douglas Mayo reviews Windmill Theatre Company and State Theatre Company South Australia’s production of Rumpelstiltskin now playing at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre.
Queen Elizabeth Hall
19 December 2018
It’s always interesting to see what pantomime alternatives are offered up the public each year at Christmas and some marvellous posters around Lonon’s Southbank had me excited to see this production of Rumpelstiltskin which hails from Australia.
Co-written by Rosemary Myers (who also directs) and Julianne O’Brien, this is not Rumpelstiltskin as I remember it and apart from a few moments here and there really bears little resemblance to the German folk tale bought to the world by the Brothers Grimm.
In a production note the co-writers talk about the show needing to be fast, funny and uncomplicated and unfortunately it fails with all three. The writers seem to be in search of their audience here, not really striking a chord with adults and spending a lot of time hammering home moral points to children, all the while trying to be trendy and cool with talk of hastags and social media it misses the point altogether. Songs are bland and the whole production is way too long.
There is some great talent to be had in this cast headed by Paul Capsis in the title role. You can certainly believe Capsis in the role of a goblin, his physicality and tremendous vocal dexterity are amazing. Elena Carapetis and Alirio as the crow and the rate are suitably engaging whilst Sheridan Harbridge as Harriet does the best with a character that falls foul of the writing.
The only character which really lands is Mitchell Butel as baby Malcolm. Butel’s innate comedy steals the second act and his rock tenor vocal is sensational.
The standout part of this show is the incredible animation by Chris Edser which works brilliantly with Jonathon Oxlades functional set. These incredible animations set the tone for the show but as I said the content fails to connect with the audience.
It’s such a shame that this show has such an audience disconnect, it could have been great. #nospungoldhere
Until 6 January 2019