December 19, 2022 4.00 pm This story is over 16 months old

Panto review: Rapunzel cast know The Drill with classic performance

A classic tale blended with seamless modernity

By Local Democracy Reporter

The annual Christmas pantomime production at The Drill saw the tale of Rapunzel told to Lincoln crowds, and it is another victory lap in the form of laughs, romance and stellar acting for Jamie Marcus Productions.

Jamie Marcus Productions returned with its second Christmas pantomime in Lincoln after a COVID-induced break from theatre, bringing Rapunzel to The Drill from December 5 to January 2.

The show follows the classic tale of Rapunzel, the captured princess kept in a tower by the wicked Mother Gothel, who uses Rapunzel’s powers to keep herself young and beautiful – but does so in a modern way with unique plot twists and vibrant stage designs.

The traditional pantomime flavours can be found in full effect throughout the show, with enough slapstick comedy to make Charlie Chaplin blush and theatrical performances of popular songs bringing this fairytale back to Earth when required.

The Drill’s panto returned this Christmas, with Rapunzel the production of choice. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Scott Conclaves and Phoebe Bruerton played the roles of Finn Riley and Rapunzel. | Photo: Jamie Marcus Productions

The title role was portrayed by Phoebe Bruerton, who demonstrated a highly impressive vocal range alongside the smoulderingly vain but eventually heroic character Finn Riley, played by Scott Goncalves.

The pair shared great chemistry on stage as we followed their romantic journey from Mother Gothel’s tower to the forest to the king and queen’s palace.

An energetic performance by Jame Campbell, making the audience laugh as Dame Betty Buttercake. | Photo: Jamie Marcus Productions

James Campbell, the show’s director, had the task of communicating directly with the audience in his role of Dame Betty Buttercake, and he did so with effortless charm and humour during his 10th year in the annual pantomime.

Line deliveries and one-liners were akin to a stand-up comedy routine, cracking dad jokes like they’re going out of fashion and maintaining a running joke with one member of the audience that culminated in a selfie while dressed as Spice Girl Geri Horner (nee Halliwell).

Jordan Shiel and Craig Garner are back once more. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Other cast members who showed a completely natural ability to be funny on stage were Jordan Shiel and Craig Garner, who brilliantly portrayed their Itchy and Scratchy roles of blithering idiots you can’t help but laugh at.

The pair worked brilliantly together and are true contenders for the stars of the show, leaning on Jordan’s past panto experience and Craig’s acting prowess – developed from roles in Hollywood blockbusters such as Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Emma Hickman stood out in her role as the traditional pantomime villain – playing the dastardly Mother Gothel. | Photo: Jamie Marcus Productions

The show had many popular culture references and political jabs, including a joke about tax hikes in the show which made reference to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt ‘beating us to it’, and Philip Schofield’s infamous queue jump-gate during the national mourning for Her Majesty The Queen.

A rousing rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas song came with reimagined lyrics that varied from the outright silly to the relevant, with dirty nappies and smelly socks being placed in the lyrics along with parking tickets, minions and Lincoln MP Karl McCartney.

Renditions of popular songs aplenty, with all the case getting involved. | Photo: Jamie Marcus Productions

It ended with a subtle jab at The Drill’s pantomime competitors, as the cast thanked the audience for attending by saying: “We hope you all had a lovely time, and if you didn’t, we’ve been the New Theatre Royal!”

Tickets are still available for Rapunzel at The Drill – running two shows a day every day until January 2 apart from Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Tickets start from £23 for stall seats and £26 to be at the front in the circle area, and can be bought from The Drill website.

ALSO READ – Panto review: New Theatre Royal’s star-studded Cinderella cast excel

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