Rapunzel – Untangling the Truth  

When: December 15-23, 2023 and then from January 4 until 14, 2024
Where: 37 Main Rd, Muizenberg, Cape Town, 7950, South Africa  
Director: Matthew Kingwill Musical director: Aidan Lewis
Tickets: From R120
Bookings: Quicket – https://qkt.io/Rapunzel  
Discounted block bookings -more than 10 tickets: e-mail manager@themasque.co.za  
Box office: The Masque Box Office is open from 9am to 2pm every Wednesday


The Masque Theatre in Muizenberg, Cape Town is presenting its annual fairy tale production over the festive season: Rapunzel – Untangling the Truth. The show is on December 15-23, 2023 and then from January 4 until 14, 2024. The fairy tale productions embody aspects of panto, with a reboot of classic fairy tales – with a millennial vibe. Key to these shows is the comedy, fun – and music. Aidan Lewis is the musical director and is multi skilled across theatrical genres. His impressive CV, includes a diploma in Practical Music and Vocal Performance (2019), completed under the tutelage of South African Soprano, Lauren Dasappa. Lewis gives us insights into what we can expect.

TCR: Have you used existing songs – as in previous Masque fairy tales – and changed lyrics – or have you written new songs – or is there a combo of both?

Aidan Lewis: The song list stretches over genres, which makes the story juicy and exciting. Some of the lyrics were changed here and there to accommodate the family rating of the show, as well as the relevance to the characters and storyline (and to fit the style of theatre). The pieces will be easy recognisable, but we tried to stray away from using the so-called trending songs and dust off some golden pieces we tend to forget about and matched it with a character’s personality trait.

TCR: What can you tell us about the concept of – Untangling the Truth in Rapunzel- a complex fairy tale? How does this manifest in the sound track you have created?

AL: Like in previous years, it’s a different way of storytelling – it’s whimsical, foolish, big and flashy with a melodramatic Prince and submissive henchman, and the pieces reflect this. The solos done by the leads are big pieces from the work/genre they’re from and the harmonies done by the ensemble are complex. You can also expect mash-ups during pivotal chaotic moments in the plot, as well as different ways of using one’s voice during a song, not just singing throughout.

TCR: Singing and tapping along – by the audience – has been very much part of the fun of Masque fairy tales. Is this part of this show as well? It sounds like a mini musical?

AL: There is definitely a little bit of something for the kids, parents and grandparents, whether Disney, modern pop music or musical theatre or hits such as “it’s my life” arranged into a different music style. The songs are recognisable and will be fun for the audience to see them put into context of a storyline.

TCR: Are there backtracks for the production or do you have live accompaniment?

AL: We will be using backtracks again for this year’s fairy tale. The majority of the songs will be using the song straight, but a few of the songs required editing the tracks to accommodate the dialogue, so I had to edit the tracks and write out vamps. There is music from artists such as Queen: A Queen song is obligatory for every December fairy tale. It starts upbeat and never ends, so I had to create introductions to songs, as well as endings to them, again, accommodating the blocking of the dialogue, which will make it easier to queue the actors.

TCR: How did you get involved in the Masque and community theatre and music?  You playedPrince Charming in The Masque Theatre’s Cinderella (2021).You have an impressive CV- including a diploma in Practical Music and Vocal Performance (2019), from The University of Stellenbosch, completed under the tutelage of South African Soprano, Lauren Dasappa. With that kind of CV, you could be working in the professional/paid arena of theatre?

AL: I worked as the vocal tutor at Pneumatix Performing Arts Academy from January 2022 up until November this year and that has been the stable form of income. The 08h00 to 17h00 teaching stood in the way of multiple opportunities I had to turn down due to my unavailability -and it became extremely draining. What I like about the Masque is that it gives individuals the opportunity to form part of any aspect of a production, whether it’s Music Director or Stage Manager. Prince Charming (Masque, 2021) was my first time in a principle role, which lead to Lucas Beinecke (“The Addams Family” by Stellenbosch Drama Department, August 2023) as well as being a judge for the 2023 Suidoosterfees ATKV choral festival. I do have a wave of experience in a variety of fields in the arts (Operetta, Opera, Panto, Musical Theatre, Tribute shows), and I’m hoping that the skill set I learn as MD with this production will make future professional “gigs” easier to attain. In the meantime, I’ll keep auditioning for various productions.

TCR: Anything else to add – in terms of working with the cast- or anything else about the production – it looks like a lot of fun?

AL: The fun started after the preparations and music rehearsals, because the repertoire is extremely difficult -especially for the leads- as well as the harmonies the ensemble has to fill. And for a cast – many with no aural training or previous experience with music of this magnitude – they did a brilliant job in not only learning the pieces, but also executing them in rehearsals. That is the best part.

✳ This interview has been marginally edited. Aidan Lewis- musical director of Rapunzel – Untangling the Truth – on at The Masque Theatre in Muizenberg, Cape Town, December 15-23, 2023 and then from January 4 until 14, 2024. Image supplied.