Archive | May, 2017

Hansel and Gretel

29 May

Of course a production within the confines of St.Paul’s delightful gardens is likely to have a plus written right through it. Normally, this is the case, but this production has several things that I find worrying. There are a lot of – possibly unconscious – double entendres, which receive titters from some members of the audience but they are not encouraged to laugh. In fact, the first few scenes of this poverty ridden family are deadly serious with not a single chance for the audience to express any pleasure.
A great deal is made of the delight children have in horror but there is a way of handling it. The only sympathetic character is little Gretel played by Rosie Abraham but she gets roasted in the witch’s oven during act one. It is upsetting that the real mother is so evil so that she wants to kill her children so she and her drunken husband (Nick Howard-Brown) can use what money there is to have a good time. She persuades her husband to take them out into the forest and leave them to their fate.
To cheer everyone up there is an exceptional scene change by Amber Scarlett as a huge bunch of trees opens up to reveal the gingerbread house. The starving Hansel, (Deshaye Gayle) of course, is tempted by any kind of food and he breaks off a bit of the window frame to eat. Then it is when the mood changes to comedy as the lovely Josie Brightwell as Baba Yaga Korizima emerges through her front door and invites him inside. Then the set opens again and we are in the witches’ kitchen. This number one witch speaks in a kind of nursery rhyme verse which is very funny and Josie Brightwell makes the most of her comedy performance – to the relief of the audience after all the solemnity we endured in the previous scenes.
This is certainly the most fun scene in the entire play although even this could do with chopping down.
The plot becomes totally confused during act two. Gretel is now a fairy up a tree and Hansel is in the kitchen of another witch – I think it was Baba Yaga Gorska – or it might have been Baba Yaga Martzanna, who gave him some disgusting sick making things to eat and drink. Maybe that bit was put in for the kids.
The play needs editing and have great chunks removed. It also need to have people smile a little more. It is a heavy show, too intense. I am not a Disney fan but I do like to have one or two pleasant and/or comical characters. The only good person was little Gretel who got roasted.
This is not the Hansel and Gretel we all know and love from Engelbert Humpedinck – I missed the Sandman who could have turned up and put us all to sleep.
<span lang="EN" style="margin:0;color:#1d2129;font-