Dance review: BalletLORENT: Rapunzel, Edinburgh

Ambitious staging, brave dancing and fine narrative, but this family show fails to satisfy on either an adult or child level

Ambitious staging, brave dancing and fine narrative, but this family show fails to satisfy on either an adult or child level

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You don’t have to be an adult to enjoy a quality theatrical experience; nor do you have to be a child to enjoy a well-told fairytale. But on a number of fronts, grown-ups and children have different agendas, and creating something that appeals equally to both is a complex task.

BalletLORENT: Rapunzel - Edinburgh Festival Theatre

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Choreographer Liv Lorent’s vision for Rapunzel is a sumptuous one, and the team she has assembled is first rate. Composer Murray Gold’s gorgeous score exudes jollity, sadness and love.

Costume designer, Michele Clapton didn’t win her Game of Thrones Emmys for nothing, dressing the dancers in outfits that actually add to the movement.

And Phil Eddolls’ set, a moveable feast of beautifully sculpted iron towers, leads to some seriously courageous dancing.

So why is Rapunzel not an unmitigated triumph? The answer appears to be that it falls between two stools. A skilful exchange between our long-haired heroine and her wicked captor, involving leather whips, takes the show in a captivatingly dark direction. Similarly a romantic duet shared by Rapunzel and the Prince, and a routine depicting bereft parents, both have the potential to be deeply moving.

But because it’s a family show, the darkness and passion is understandably held back. Meanwhile a voiceover narrative serves the children well, but is incongruous for adults, while the pervasive dim lighting and lack of humour does little for anybody.

There is so much to like about balletLORENT’s ambitious production, but in an attempt to keep everyone happy, the emotional impact is compromised.

Seen on 20.09.14

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