The Metro, 02/01/2008 When you think of Rapunzel’s hair, it’s unlikely that black dreadlocks spring to mind. But that’s what Kneehigh theatre company has opted for in this revival of its very human reworking of the Brothers Grimm tale, first seen last year at Battersea Arts Centre. In fact, all the glossy fairy tale puff is replaced with gritty, witty characters that look as real as they sound. The magic, however, remains. It comes in panto-style with a cross-dressing Mother Gothel, villainous comedy characters and plenty of audience participation. The story itself, by Annie Siddons, is based on the Grimms’ original but is influenced by the vivid worlds of Italo Calvino and the 16th-centruy Neapolitan fairy tale writer Giambattista Basile. As a consequence the action involves some fairly gripping drama. The passion between the Prince and Rapunzel (Edith Tankus, pictured) is physically graphic as they kiss and sing, while the Prince’s eyes get pokes out with scissors and eaten by Mother Gothel. It’s hands-over-eyes stuff but it works brilliantly, keeping the adults as enthralled as the slack-jawed children. Director Emma Rice’s decision to make the mechanics of theatre part of the show (with the audience seated in the round and costume and set changes visible) is a Kneehigh trademark, and here serves to make this soulful storytelling richer. It’s a little on the long side, with long drawn-out action scenes too flabby. But the overall effect compensates admirably.