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Hansel and Gretel review at Brentwood Theatre Essex

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Taking over the reins from director Ray Howes, Joseph Walsh adds to the theatre’s reputation as a festive family favourite – Brentwood’s 12th consecutive in-house Christmas production.

Rekindling the simple pleasures gained from imaginative storytelling, each of the cast quartet take turns to play narrator, shrewdly breaking the story down into bite-sized courses.

Often bent double, Charlotte Bradford’s wicked witch is straight out of Disney, with a villainous voice, yet her costume lacks that added sinister aura.

Returning to Brentwood, Hannah Douglas brings an ideal mix of bossiness and initiative as Gretel, alongside Stephen O’Rian’s naive, gorging Hansel. Paul Tonkin comes alive when leaving the father figure behind to become the clumsy, animated mouse, a real hit with young spectators.

Utilising the audience as part of the forest, David Zelly’s foldaway set morphs with ease from domestic kitchen scene to gingerbread abode, secreted in the woodland. While Ian Southgate’s catchy musical numbers, such as We’re Not Scared of the Dark and What I Really Enjoy is a Boy, add to his fine lyrical repertoire.

Parents would be wise to sprinkle breadcrumbs on their way out, for this cleverly repackaged Grimm’s fairytale will enchant a new generation enough to return.

Production Information

Brentwood Theatre, Essex, December 9-29

Mike Kenny
Joseph Walsh
Brentwood Theatre Company, Vivid Musical Theatre
Cast includes
Hannah Douglas, Stephen O’Rian, Paul Tonkin, Charlotte Bradford
Running time
1hr 50mins
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