RAPUNZEL never goes out, using that old excuse that she’s washing her hair.

But she means it. It takes a very long time as she has very long hair that gets longer and longer and longer as the play progresses.

The hair and the tower, in which she lives and never leaves, remain intact from the fairy story in Mike Kenny’s short, sharp and smart version for tutti frutti.

This company has been producing story-based theatre for children aged three-plus and their families for 21 years, so they know how to please young audiences. As does writer Mike Kenny, who counts York Theatre Royal’s award-winning adaptation of The Railway Children among his work.

Together, they’re an unbeatable combination.

Rapunzel is a worthy way of marking tutti frutti’s 21st birthday. You can’t fail to leave without a smile on your face and a spring in your step, whatever age.

The story takes us through Rapunzel’s growing up years, from sleeping in a box on a shelf (obviously social services couldn’t intervene because her tower home had no door) to cutting off her hair because it’s weighing her down in every sense.

Nan is her over-protective guardian – in charge after her parents went away and never came back – who uses her construction skills to make the tower higher as each year passes.

Rapunzel likes the view and finds many uses for her long hair – as a skipping rope, as a paint brush and a rope to climb into the tower. She dyes it purple at one point. Rafi is the young visitor who serves as her introduction to the outside world.

Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries. Local children shout “witch” at Nan in a hostile manner, causing her to remind Rapunzel that “not everything in the world is nice”.

Kenny’s script deals with the complexities of growing up and finding acceptance in the world with insight and intelligence without resorting to standing on a soapbox. The cast of Gayle Newbolt, Selina Zaza and Max Gallagher are just perfect under the director of Wendy Harris.

So too are the use of music (composer/MD Chris Mellor) and movement (TC Howard) with Catherine Chapmans lovely designs making full use of a small space.

• Until Oct 13. Tickets: 01904 623568 and yorktheatreroyal.co.uk