As parents, we start to divide up things we see into two categories: the shows we enjoy because they've made our children smile so immensely, and the shows we would go see again. On our own. The second happens more rarely in children's theatre, but we'd be inclined to enjoy the visual spectacle that writing/directing duo Rosemary Myers and Julianne O'Brien put together again – if only for the wild fashions, cool sets (achieved through the incredible video animations from Chris Edser and glorious backdrops from Jonathon Oxlade) and glam rock, cabaret-ready musical numbers.
Rumplestiltskin makes the magic happen. Credit: The Other Richard
This is a twist on the fairy tale you know: Rumpelstiltskin (the divine Paul Capsis), is dark and creepy, but also sympathetic; Harriet, aka. 'the girl' in the original (played by Sheridan Harbridge) is a lot greedier, and more manipulative than her fairy tale counterpart – she's taking charge of her destiny and is willing to do whatever it takes to get what she wants.
Also, there isn't a piece of straw in sight: this version of Rumpelstiltskin is a fashionista's dream come true, where Rumpelstiltskin is a designer extraordinaire, creating wildly successful 1960s-meets-outer space looks. Harriet climbs her way up the ranks of Rumpelstiltskin's fashion empire, giving everything she owns to the goblin to attain power and glory and eventually trading her future most prized possession for a love spell to make the man she thinks is the designer Rumpelstiltskin (he's really a stand-in named Malcolm, played by Mitchell Butel) fall in love with her. Cue marriage, baby... and Rumpelstiltskin claiming his prize.
Be careful what you wish for, as Harriet quickly learns. Credit: The Other Richard
Ultimately, the show is about those powerful, universal emotions: greed, regret, redemption, and eventually understanding that love is more powerful than all that glitters. Both Harriet and Rumpelstiltskin go through their own redemptive journeys and there's a happy ending with a Season's Greeting card from The Stiltskins.
The show is rounded out by a cast including Tootie (Harriet's whistle come to life in resplendent tapping and singing silver glitter, played by Michaela Burger), Rumpelstiltskin's two pets, Crow (Elena Carapetis) and Rat (Alirio Zavarce), who provide humour via Devil Wears Prada-esque one-liners, the baby (perfectly captured by Ezra Juanta) and musician Paul White.
The show is two hours long with an interval and recommended for kids 8 and up. Enjoy the ride.
|What||Rumpelstiltskin, Queen Elizabeth Hall review|
|Where||Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
|Price||£15 and up|
|Website||Click here to book now|