Hansel and Gretel
|Date||27th March 2019|
|Society||Leeds Childrens Theatre|
|Type of Production||Musical|
Author: Christine Castle
The Grimm Brothers were certainly on to a winner when they wrote the enduring story of 'Hansel and Gretel' - I can understand why it's often chosen for pantomime, but this version was more formal and it made a refreshing change. I just loved the 'story book' opening sequence, with the story narrated off-stage and the use of atmospheric music - very professional.
Directed with a detailed eye by Ian Goodison, this play was a real tour de force for the two actors playing the main characters. Jamie Gardener (Hansel) and Megan McNutt (Gretel) were superb in their roles - they had excellent acting skills and perfect diction - something which is always top-notch at LCT.They were well supported by Caitlin Duggan as Trudi, the cat - most impressive in her movement and 'cat' noises - her transformation to human being was sensational and left the audience amazed! Lily Rugg played the ethereal Forest Fairy with grace and charm and, may I say, in a beautiful costume, with excellent make-up and hair. For the adult members of the cast, James Hart played Ernst, the poor Woodcutter, with Jane Curtin as his awful wife, Katrin - both fine characterisations. Manda Lister played the Wicked Witch with relish - I did love her interaction with the young actors. The 'fire' scene was really amusing and we were all relieved when Gretel finally shoved her into the furnace!
The principal actors were well supported by a team of 'Captured Children' who although didn't have dialogue as such, maintained their characters really well. As usual, the production team were on top form - Dan Dainter (Stage Manager) had assembled a creative team of unseen heroes - lighting, sound, and set design were first class, with great back-up from props, costumes, make-up and hair. Choreography was sensitive, by Mbola Holisoa, and fitted the characters very well.
Some of the set changes were rather long, but these will speed up as the week goes on (it was first night!) - it certainly didn't spoil the evening for the audience, who were enthralled from the start.
I had such a lovely evening and my congratulations are extended to everyone on stage and behind the scenes.