Let Down Your Hair!: A Review of SRT's "Rapunzel"

A review of the Singapore Repertory Theatre’s (SRT) “Rapunzel” written for Little Day Out, a Singapore-based website that provides information and updates on the best of Singapore for families with young children.

The classic Grimm Brothers’ tale has been given a new lease of life in recent years. Disney’s latest version, Tangled, features a feisty heroine with a thirst for adventure and now SRT’s The Little Company has also brought this familiar tale on stage with the story centred on an inquisitive and curious girl who longs to explore the world despite being trapped in an enchanted tower.

That’s where the similarities between the two versions end. In The Little Company’s version, Rapunzel’s captor is a chef-wannabe witch who brushes the poor girl’s hair frequently in an effort to extract her tears, believed to be the secret ingredient that has won her a host of international cooking accolades. Rapunzel’s only friends are a roadrunner and an armadillo who is in charge of guarding the witch’s enchanted garden.

Enter Montague, a goofy Prince in Pyjamas who is exploring the land on his camel. The two meet and Montague promises to help Rapunzel find three magical items that could free her from her prison. Will the duo succeed? Or will the witch cook up a nefarious plan that would put an end to it all?

Rapunzel is a visual delight for all with its stunning set of an enchanted tower and garden. The garden, for instance, looks gloriously delicious, and it is not unimaginable that someone would want to steal food from it. Likewise, the colourful animal puppets were a delight to the audience, and many among them fell in love almost instantly with them.

As in other SRT shows, the strength of the performance lay in its casting. Cheryl Tan stole the show as the independent-minded Rapunzel, and she was evenly matched by Trev Neo, who was convincingly cast as the clueless Prince. The songs were also catchy and engaging, and the cast did a good job in getting the audience to remember what magical items were needed to break the enchantment.

Conversely, we felt that more could have done more to bring together all the theatrical elements in a cohesive manner. For instance, the theme of friendship was discussed too briefly and could have been developed further. On the whole, we felt a stronger ending would have served to complement the work of the actors and help the young audience better appreciate what a true friendship entails.

Rapunzel is running from now to 30 April.

Photos of the production can be found on the Little Day Out website here.

These are some follow-up activities that can be carried out with your children after watching the show:

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