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Hansel and Grettel

Published Monday 10 December 2012 at 10:46 by Jane Coyle

‘Misshapen elf steals show!’ Thus might well read the headline for the Lyric’s Christmas musical, in which Christina Nelson’s mutely glowering servant to Jane Milligan’s uber-glamorous Witch deservedly grabs the spotlight. Without exactly losing the plot, the Grimm brothers’ dark fairytale makes but fleeting appearances in Paul Boyd’s left-of-field revisioning.

Narrator and guide is Christopher Finn’s engaging feathered friend Gregory Peck, while two young, local musical theatre performers - Ciara Louise Baxter and Patrick Corey - make an earnest pairing as the central characters. The children have been abandoned by their dysfunctional parents - unemployed Hertz (the incomparable Tommy Wallace) and gun-toting Avis (Nelson again) - whom poverty and rural isolation have clearly rendered insane.

Things begin promisingly as Conleth White’s frosty lighting goes up on David Craig’s abstract set, composed of torn pages of script, on to which are projected enchanting shadows and silhouettes. This cautionary tale of misplaced wishes unfolds through surreally random encounters with nutty birds Florence Nightingale and Francis Drake, a sinister Spirit of the Forest and a pompadoured Elvis-impersonator frog.

Boyd’s songwriting flair may not be firing at its highest level, but the show goes out on a high with a big, brash, catchy remix.

Production information

Lyric, Belfast, December 2-January 13

Paul Boyd
Lyric Theatre
Cast includes:
Ciara Louise Baxter, Patrick Corey, Christopher Finn, Jane Milligan, Christina Nelson, Tommy Wallace
Running time:
1hr 30mins

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014