Show: Hansel and Gretel
Director: Fred Abrahamse
Cast: Steven Taylor, Natasha Dryden, Candice con Litsenborgh and Earl Gregory
Venue: Baxter Flipside until January 11
Review: Melissa Cohen
It was like stepping back into my childhood. That was the feeling that came over me as I entered the Flipside Theatre at the Baxter and the complex and eye catching visual aesthetics of AM Production’s set for ‘Hansel & Gretel’ caught my eye. I saw a lot of children’s productions when I was a kid, and this show immediately brought back fond memories of being transported to far-off, fantastical lands through the magic of live performance.
As I walked through the theatre to take my seat, the scene was set – the sound of birds chirping; the realistic forest backdrop; the occasional puff from the smoke machine. I was suddenly in the enchanted, dangerous forest from the fairy tale. I wasn’t the only one captivated by the set. The little kids walking through were abuzz with excitement, which continued throughout the show.
The award winning team of director Fred Abrahamse and set, costume designer and composer Marcel Meyer have been a part of the local theatre scene for a long time and are widely recognised for their variety of classic kids’ shows that have been performed at Canal Walk shopping centre in recent years. ‘Hansel and Gretel’ had a run at Canal Walk in 2011 and the production received rave reviews. This incarnation of the show, with new cast members, should be no different.
The “mini musical’ feel of ‘Hansel and Gretel’, coupled with its theatricality kept the kids enthralled and animated from beginning to end as the story unfolded. By the end of the show I even found myself humming a few of the tunes. I really enjoyed the fact that the four cast members sang all the songs live and it was clear that a lot of preparation went into the singing and harmonizing, as when two or more performers were singing at the same time, it sounded beautiful.
The cast were completely in sync with one other and energetic throughout. The actors performed with such enthusiasm that by the time the show ended, the kids were clamouring to meet them afterwards, as they had already formed connections with their favourite characters. It was amazing to see how the kids were engaging so intently with the characters and the story.
*Performances take place from Mondays to Saturdays at 10am and 12pm.
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