Review: Hansel and Gretel by Welsh National Opera at The Mayflower Theatre (28/03/2015)

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A must see!

Young or old, this performance will excite you, reminding you of one of the best Grimm's Fairy Tales. This Opera is dark and twisted, but with a big ol' dash of fun!

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In this production, Hansel and Gretel’s father is a drunkard, and their mother is a tired, cruel, suicidal woman (Played by Ashley Holland and Miriam Murphy respectively). Ms Murphy steals the stage from Hansel and Gretel themselves; Mother and Father seem oddly well fed for people who are supposedly starving, as do Hansel and Gretel themselves.

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Playful, entertaining and cute, Jurgita Adamonyte and Ailish Tynan (Hansel and Gretel respectively), showed off their strong acting abilities, proving that adults can play children without being too over the top. It was easy to get into the musical and instantly accept these two as prepubescent children.

It was lovely to hear all of the boo’s when the Witch (Adrian Thompson) took his bow at the end, as his performance was one of note, flinging ingredients around. His giant oven was both funny and terrifying, as he drew a smiley face on the door, whilst singing about killing and eating children!

Incredibly dark in places and yet so light in others, this opera really stayed with me. Artistic screens came down to signal the change of scene, or to allow for a set change at the beginning of the second act. Mysterious sets, none of which looked inviting, as they shouldn’t, and yet were open and entertaining enough to keep young children involved in the opera, the set was absolutely perfect.

The costumeHansel&Gretel12s were also brilliant, although simple for the main cast. The real beauty was within the supporting cast whose costumes were as intricate and as playful as the children seemed; men dressed as trees, a puppet Sandman, a Dew Fairy (both played by an energetic Meriel Andrew), flying pigs who served as angels bringing a feast to the sleeping children, a frog in a suit… Yes, it sounds odd, and it was. Brilliantly so! Laughter burst out of the audience as each of these costumed characters came out, and I can’t say I didn’t have a little giggle along with the children in the audience!

I can say, that anyone who goes to see this Opera will enjoy it, young, or old. I know I did!

Tickets for Hansel & Gretel can be purchased here. 

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