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The Umbrella Organisation

The Umbrella Organisation

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Hansel and Gretel, National Theatre
Me with Red Ribbon
rakspatel wrote in mycroft_brolly
Photo credit: http://posters.nationaltheatre.org.uk/art/490334/Hansel_and_Gretel

Cut and pasted from the National Theatre Website:

Hansel and Gretel

Two children lost in the woods ...
a trail of breadcrumbs ...
and a bewitching house made of sweets.

Following The Cat in the Hat and Beauty and the Beast, Katie Mitchell returns to the National Theatre to stage the classic fairytale. She will collaborate once again with Lucy Kirkwood and designer Vicki Mortimer, applying their extraordinary imagination and creativity to conjure the world of Hansel and Gretel in an intimate and magical new production. Hansel and Gretel promises to be an enchanting and eerie Christmas treat, especially suitable for 7–10-year-olds.

Follow the link for all the details and to book tickets:

Raks's Reaction

Justin Salinger as Johann (the Father), Amit Shah as Marta (the Stepmother), Dylan Kennedy as Hansel and Ruby Bentall as Gretel.
Photographer: Alastair Muir
Photo credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/theatre-reviews/9750740/Hansel-and-Gretel-National-Theatre-review.html

I went to see this on Wednesday 2 January - my Birthday. I don't usually see plays aimed at children (I did not see The Cat in the Hat or Beauty and the Beast), but I wanted to see a show at the National on my Birthday, and this was the show I elected to see. I was so pleased I had done so!

I really enjoyed every single minute of the show, from the start right through to the finish. The show is fast, the action zips along, and there is never a dull moment.

There is a very small cast of six (including the musician) and, aside of Hansel and Gretel, all the other cast members play a range of roles - including a Witch, a Cat, a Bat, an Oven and the Brothers Grimm! All five actors, and the musician, were superb.

The story is basically the familiar one, as told in most written versions of the Brothers Grimm tales. I liked the fact that they had retained all the darker elements of the plot. The unusual aspect was that the story was framed by the Brothers Grimm themselves, who we meet right at the start as they tell us all about how they "catch" their stories. They bring a great deal of clowning and humour to the piece, which is needed to frame what is, after all, quite a dark tale.

I particularly loved all the puppets in the piece, especially the Cat and Stuart, the Bat. They definitely added magic to the piece.

I want to give a special mention and a shout out to Amit Shah in his role as Marta, the Stepmother. I have seen Amit in a few NT productions, including one of my favourites The Man of Mode. I thought he was just perfect as Marta. What Marta wanted (ie to be shot of Hansel and Gretel) was evil and cruel, but you could (just!) understand the motivation, and Amit managed to bring the right combination of comedy and pathos to the role.

In closing, I would like to add that adults can, and will, enjoy this show as much as children. And so, if you are a single adult, do NOT be ashamed to go along and see the show, as I did. You will be in for a real treat!

A real Christmas treat. I loved every minute of the show. Outstanding - 5 stars!
Highly highly highly recommended, for adults and children alike.

Remember: "Don't sit on the Confabulator!"