Credits: Lidia Crisafulli

Theatre Peckham’s ‘hairy-tale’ of Rapunzel 

Theatre Peckham introduces a Christmas production of Rapunzel – but not the classic fairy-tale you may know.

Brought to stage on December 5th, the modern day adaptation uses the topic of hair to celebrate the power of individuality and empowerment. 

The idea of the production was to reinvent the tale with 21st century references that address real life topics, including beauty, feminism and entitlement.

Hair-stylist Shamara Roper, held workshops with the theatre’s community to embrace different hair styling techniques.

She expresses that talent should feel comfortable and beautiful after having their hair done, not the opposite.

Set in a Peckham hairdressers, Barnet Magic represents how transforming a salon with educated stylists can be.

Bringing together a community of people who want to experiment and feel good in their hair.

There are points of real comedy that are well performed and very timely.

Marcus Ayton who plays Fortify, Leon and Mama Bea carried a special energy that particularly engaged the audience.

Credits: Lidia Crisafulli

Throughout the show Playwright, Geoff Aymer, makes sure to create plenty of audience participation in the form of funny songs and dances. 

Aymer said: “I wanted something that would stand out for both myself and Theatre Peckham.

“A fresh perspective of an age-old tale.

“Plenty of laughs, Plenty of toe tapping moments.”

Rapunzel is Theatre Peckham’s Christmas show but there is no clear sense of festivity, until a heartfelt rendition of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ at the end. 

There are decorations that add a sparkle to the stage, but nothing boastful.

Instead, the play teaches us an important lesson, that being entitled has consequences, demonstrated by the evil Aunty’s actions. 

For the duration of the show the salon took up a large portion of the stage, compromising space for dance routines and making some of the better scenes hard to see.

Credits: Lidia Crisafulli

On the contrary every inch of the room is utilised with performers using the aisles to interact with the audience making that community vibe really come to life. 

The dances and songs are well composed; the theme song for Dignity is playful and orchestrated perfectly to match his character, credits to Jordan Xavier.

It was a pleasure to watch the excited faces of the audience, some clearly friends and family of the younger performers; the atmosphere was warm and joyus. 

Artistic Director Suzann McLean said: “We are taking this timeless story and infusing it with our unique cultural twist that our audiences have grown to adore. 

“Our talented Theatre Peckham Academy students will shine alongside an exceptional cast, creating a mesmerising musical pantomime-style experience that will leave everyone feeling joyfully festive and uplifted.”

Aymer added: “We wanted to have some festive fun exploring society’s obsession around beauty with this allegorical story.” 

Runs until December 24th 2023

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