Hansel and Gretel

Date 7th February 2020
Society Aberdyfi Players
Venue Neuadd Dyfi
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Des George and Su Tacey
Musical Director Lisa Daley Allan
Choreographer Sarah Gibbons and Penny Gibbons

Report

Author: Jackie Titley

Aberdyfi Players were privileged to use this original script, written by Alan Frayn. Alan goes to Aberdyfi for his holidays and wrote it partly while on holiday.

I believe the producers and performers certainly did it credit. There was something for everyone – singing, colourful costumes, slapstick and, above all, a great show. Aberdyfi have a large number of performers, 55 of them youngsters, all with huge smiles and many changes of costumes. The backstage crew must be very well organised to cope with it, and they do cope very well

I really appreciate the home produced scenery and special effects in these productions, most of them down to Des and his team. The Woodcutters scene was very busy, even a tree being felled during “I’m a Lumberjack” sung by Fritz (David Gosney).and other members of the chorus. Great moving trees to create changes of atmosphere as they moved in and out and then turned around to show spooky faces.

The panto opened with Bluebell the good fairy (Annette Pullan) and Nightshade the bad fairy (Beth Edwards). We had to wait until almost the end to hear her beautiful deep voice when singing in her cottage. They took opposite characters – Bluebell using magic to help things along, and Nightshade acquired a real rapport with the audience booing and hissing.

The young children first appeared as gingerbread men. They were well disciplined. I loved the idea of ‘including’ waving to the audience at their first appearance, something children will do.  Throughout the show the children’s chorus were continually changing costumes, squirrels and birds dancing through the woods, rabbits, bears, mice and deer performing a lovely dance in and out of the trees. The fairies with lit wings was very pretty. The children filled the stage from the front with tiny ones slowly filling in in height order. Extremely well rehearsed and performed with smiles on their faces.

Fritz and Hildegard (Su Tacey) worked very well together, as did Peggy Pumpernickel (Louis Hiatt) the dame and Wally (Ed Moss). Irish accents abounded along with lots of jokes. Even the calling of the raffle included lots of ad-libbing from them both. There was a plethora of ‘local’ jokes and it almost appeared an extension of the panto.

The gypsies had a party around the campfire. The 2 crows were vey effective. Russell ( Hilary Rowlands) and Sheryl (Vanessa Hughes) There were 16 small clowns in matching outfits singing with the marionette who cleverly caught the moonlight in a bucket. Again, so MANY costumes and even a trapeze artist swinging from the “rafters”

The audience participation in the 2nd half was second to none, clapping and singing along. Hansel (Alison Beard) and Gretel (Sophie Banning) were supportive of each other on their adventures. Of course they escaped the oven and celebrated with the rest of the cast in the final dance.

Aberdyfi has an inclusive policy, and it is very rewarding to see such a happy, caring society.

Congratulations to you all.

Jackie Titley