Eden Court, Inverness
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ONCE upon a time, there was a dance version of classic Grimm fairytale.
Thanks to artistic director Liv Lorent and poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy who pulled out the sub-story, it focused partly on how painful it is to want but not have your own kids.
It’s put beautifully in the narrated story, where the couple who will become Rapunzel’s real parents live in hope of a child: "The wife felt like a planet without a moon ... like a tree in the orchard that bears no fruit, but she never gave up on her heart’s passionate desire".
We’re shown that the witch next door feels exactly the same.
But when she gets her chance to trick the neighbours out of their child, she then proves that loving parents can still be cruel and stupid to their beloved youngsters.
Later, watching the witch beat up Rapunzel before locking her away from boys and life in the production’s wrought-iron climbing frame of a tower, was uncomfortable in a family show, but powerful.
The show is stunning and edgy, though maybe not always for the dancing itself.
A minor problem was that, even with a narrator’s voice to explain what was happening onstage, the beginning was still a bit confusing, trying to work out exactly who was who.
But the show has startlingly memorable scenes built in.
The wife’s temptation under red light with a chorus holding tall red flower stalks aloft – was one.
Another was Rapunzel’s parents sitting bereft and mourning the loss of their daughter at the side of the stage, while a stream of youngsters, of many different ages, all happily running, rolling, jumping, scootering and dancing, parade across the stage, emphasising what the parents were missing and the everyday pain for the childless in the everyday world.
The local dancers young dancers all did themselves proud in that scene - and as a crucial part of the show’s mix.
Clever touches were everywhere to bring a new feel or dimension to the familiar story. Putting the prince on a scooter and the witch, occasionally, on roller skates was playful and clever.
And at the show's heart, Natalie Trewinnard made a feisty and vibrant Rapunzel, often silhouetted against the lit backdrop and impressive moon, letting us share the joy as she broke free of the ropes of red hair that trapped her as a child, as a possession. We shared Rapunzel's ultimate happy ever ending - free and loved.