Edinburgh Fringe 2013
Defend Rapunzel’s Tower with real lightsabres! Master Jedi skills with Duke Skylord to defeat the Dark Vadia. Once again Spotlites blend fairy tale and space opera in their own unique way that lights up the children in the audience (4 -10s)
Science and magic meet in a wonderful blend of Star Wars and Rapunzel in this production for 4 -10 year olds. The action revolves around a high tower, centre stage, where Rapunzel is held unwitting captive by the evil witch, whom she believes to be her mother. I’ll say no more of the story. And I can’t say sit back and enjoy, because this is a show to sit forward, and even get involved. There are plenty of opportunities for interaction and hands in the audience shoot up throughout.
Spotlites have delivered yet again with a wholly fun and engaging story drawn from a classic tale melded with a film. ‘
There’s always an attention to detail, a care for the children and mums and dads from the moment we enter. When the fourth wall comes down, as it regularly does, it is nearly always for the right purpose – to serve the story.
Placement plays a big role in Spotlites work – props are placed carefully on stage, in scenes, planted like seeds, patiently and consciously in the narrative, to be used later to help the hero move forwards, progress or to reveal something. Audience involvement – never stressy and always voluntary – is placed at just the right moments in the narrative.
What results is a roundedness to the whole performance, a satisfying story, laced with humour, taking best of film fairy tale and creating some magic for the children without a CGI effect in sight. Physical theatre, story theatre, a bit of clownish humour, a hero quest, and lots of action.
There’s a traditional feel to the story structure in Rapunzel – May the Force be With You – the classic quest, the overcoming of evil and the facing of uncertainty and the unknown. Despite the many props and different things going on it is that hero journey that holds the proceedings so firmly together. And the force can be good or bad, light or dark – we can use it for good or evil.
Spotlites know their venue well and they make wise use of every inch of the space – on and off stage. We know we are in confident hands and this confidence is what creates such immediate permission for the children to engage.
I’ve always felt that Spotlites provide a "way back" into live theatre and storytelling for children tied to the TV. This year is no exception. Film music plays as we enter, doffing a respectful, even celebratory cap to the media age. But then we are into direct, energetic, live theatre that celebrates the old stories alongside the new, and the children lean forward, not passively watching, but with their own inner activity engaged and even quickened. That stands out. That’s always impressive.
Rapunzel – May the Force be with You captures the attention from the start. As light sabres are waved about in the audience, there’s an air of expectation in the near packed house.
I felt that some of the interaction felt a bit forced in this show and needs a bit of attention. Though the children are younger, it is the story that they follow, and if that thread is broken for no good reason, it is easy for that thread to be lost. This only happened on a few occasions. The rest of the time the interactive parts were all about going up and helping the characters to progress in the story. This "help me" rhythm is such a boon of the production.
"We’re a bit different" says Rachael King at the front, introducing the show. They are a bit different. There’s nothing like them on the Fringe. And as the dry ice fills the space, the story begins…
Highly recommended. Unmissable entertainment for children.