From Adelaide to London: fairytale production hits the world stage

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By Lana Guineay

Snow, ice-skating, shopping on Oxford Street under twinkling lights… Christmas in London is set to get a touch of Adelaide magic (and mischief) this year, thanks to a local production of Rumpelstiltskin.

Adelaide’s Windmill Theatre Co and State Theatre Company’s award-winning family musical has been chosen as a centrepiece 2018 Christmas show at the iconic Southbank Centre in London.

Paul Capsis and Ezra Juanta in Rumpelstiltskin. Photo: Shane Reid, courtesy Windmill Theatre

The coup is the latest pin on the Google Map for both companies, following on from the successful tour of their previous collaboration Pinocchio, which played on New York’s 42nd Street in 2015.

Rumpelstiltskin was a hometown hit, premiering at the Dunstan Playhouse in 2016 to glowing reviews and sell out shows.

Now kids and parents in the UK are set to come along for the ride, up to 25,000 people are expected over the 30-performance season in Queen Elizabeth Hall, running from 13 December 2018 to 6 January 2019.

Windmill Theatre Artistic Director Rosemary Myers with Rumpelstiltskin star Paul Capsis. Photo: Shane Reid, courtesy Windmill Theatre

“This is such fantastic recognition for our artists and our respective companies,” said Windmill’s Artistic Director and Director of Rumpelstiltskin, Rosemary Myers, who also co-wrote the show.

“We had lots of fun making this work, with all its slapstick one-liners, pop culture references and rock-inspired musical tracks – seeing these feature as part of the Christmas pantomime season in London is pretty special.”

If the description doesn’t sound much like the Brothers Grimm fairytale – you’d be right.

The production has been labelled an “extreme makeover” of the well-known story, and described as ‘one of the most ground breaking shows’ by the Guardian.

Photo: Shane Reid, courtesy Windmill Theatre

Starring Australia’s “King of Cabaret” Paul Capsis, the production won Best Show – Musical/Opera at the 2017 Adelaide Theatre Guide Curtain Call Awards and was nominated for two 2017 South Australian Ruby Awards, including Best Work.

Senior Programmer for Performance and Dance at Southbank Centre, Rupert Thomson, said the production was “spectacularly visual”.

“At its best, theatre pushes the limits of what we think of as possible – wonder, excitement, spectacle and mischief can have such an impact on the audience,” he said.

“This wonderful adaptation of the Rumpelstiltskin story masterfully achieves all these things and more.”

Ashton Malcolm and Michaela Burger on the Adelaide stage at the 2016 premiere season. Photo: Shane Reid, courtesy Windmill Theatre

Windmill has established a reputation as a major producer of new theatre for children, teenage and family audiences.

In the last few years, the company has become one of Australia’s leading exporters of arts and culture to the world, delivering 225 live theatre performances across 46 cities in 2017.

State Theatre Company’s Executive Director and Producer Jodi Glass said “There’s enormous pride for both companies about performing in the Southbank Centre in London.”

“It’s such an iconic venue, and such an iconic time of year. International tours like this can take some time to negotiate and the words ‘White Christmas’ kept us quite focused!”

Rumpelstiltskin in all his glory. Photo: Shane Reid, courtesy Windmill Theatre

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