Let your hair down
The Young Company puts on a fun, loose production of Rapunzel
Watching a children’s theater group is different than going to see, say, a production of Cats on Broadway, or even your regular community theater fare, for that matter. The actors are just so damn cute that the occasional forgotten line or missed cue is easily dismissed.
After the Blue Room Young Company’s Saturday production of Rapunzel, director Lisa Schmidt said that there had been quite a few forgotten lines and missed cues, but she was watching through her “director eyes.” Watching through my “average audience member eyes,” I would say the show was pulled off very well.
Between the beautifully hand-painted set depicting rolling hills and cobblestone tower, the delightful charm of young actors and the dozens of smiling faces in the audience, it would have been impossible not to enjoy the Young Company’s performance of Rapunzel—even if there were a couple of mistakes.
The story follows Walter and Rene Schwartzbuckle, who were played by Andrew Deaver and Kayla Khemvisai, respectively. Kayla showed her acting skills in the animated tantrums she would throw when trying to beg her husband to fetch a radish-like vegetable called rampion and fulfill her insatiable hunger—"I’ll faint and drool, faint and drool!” she threatened. Andrew did an excellent job as the easy-going husband, ready to do anything to stop the tantrums.
What he ends up doing is promising their first-born daughter on her 18th birthday to Witch Izwitch (get it, which is which?) in return for unlimited use of her rampion patch, the only one in the kingdom. Keilana Decker playing Witch Izwitch was a highlight of the evening. She cackled and stomped her black rain boots and was the perfect balance between scary and funny. The witch’s henchmen, the evil Glumpwarts, tiptoed behind her and echoed her threats—impressive feats for probably the youngest, and cutest, actresses in the play (Taylor Stahl, Eleanore Kennedy, Kestrel Carroll and Jonelle Ahiligwo).
The years go by, the couple has a daughter, name her Rapunzel (another name for rampion), and the girl turns 18. (Some cast members slipped and were saying 16, but let’s assume it was 18.) Witch Izwitch comes to collect her, hides her away in a tower, and the whole kingdom of Ain’t sets out looking for Rapunzel.
Cypress Durkin was a beautiful and delightfully sarcastic Rapunzel, topped off with a long curly blond wig for the “let down your hair” scene. She gave the impression that this wasn’t the damsel-in-distress Rapunzel of older stories—she was going to get herself out of this mess.
Prince Llewellen, played by Austin Rist, is the one who works the hardest to find Rapunzel and free her. Austin’s natural acting skill made him one of the stars of the show, despite his crown slipping down over his ears. His innocence and thoughtfulness shone through in the delivery of his lines, and he came off as the most wonderful nerdy prince a girl could hope for.
There are other princes, some knights, sages and three goofy jesters, and all the young actors and actresses perform well. For the rest of the story, you’ll have to go see the show.
Overall, a nice change from the somewhat wicked classic version of Rapunzel, even carrying an important message about the meaning of beauty and getting to know people for who they are.