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Theater Review:

‘Rapunzel’ befits young royalty

June 04, 2008|By Mary Burkin

There’s a very special place in Glendale, where for more than 20 years, parents who don’t like the idea of letting their children stay home and watch TV all Saturday morning can bring the kids.

At the Glendale Centre Theatre, younger ones can dress up as their favorite princess or prince, play on a real stage during intermission and have their pictures taken with their favorite fairy tale characters after the show.

All well and good for the kids, you might say, but what do I, the grown-up, get out of it? Have you got a yen for theater, but also a baby in your arms? No problem — there’s a baby being held by a mom or a dad in what seems like every third seat.

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Haven’t got a spare tiara? No problem — a wide variety of low-cost royalty gear is available for purchase before the show. With “Rapunzel,” parents not only get treated to the Total Family Experience, this time around they get a wonderfully well-acted and well-written tongue-in-cheek story in the great tradition of Fractured Fairy Tales and “Shrek II.”

Rapunzel (played with ditsy sweetness by Jessica Elizabeth Mamey), as we all should know, is a beautiful girl who was kidnapped from her parents (the top-notch comedy duo of Angie Rupert and Derik Houck) by a witch (Pamela Taylor, in the great professional tradition of Bad Girls who Really Just Want Love).

Rapunzel hasn’t had a haircut since. The only way to enter the tower where Rapunzel is kept is to place Rapunzel into a trance, say the magic words and wait until Rapunzel lets down her hair as a kind of a rope ladder, which may be slippery or not, depending on the brand of conditioner she used last.

Meanwhile, poor Rapunzel sighs and hopes for something different — “I’d do anything to change the view — except jump,” she says.

No wonder Rapunzel is a local legend, and princes from far and wide see Rapunzel hunting as a personal challenge.

When Rapunzel’s mother, who can wield one mean coffee pot, lies and tells the Prince (Jim Van Over) that the only girls to be found in the kingdom are hags, the Prince decides to stay and search anyway. After all, “There are plenty of fair maids in the sea, but how often do you get to see a hag?” he says. Van Over has all the good looks and goofy bravado of James Marsden’s Prince Edward in “Enchanted.”

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