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Hansel and Gretel review at Derby Theatre – ‘wittily delightful and original’

Mike Kenny’s gift is to take a classic tale and make the wildest of fancies seem wholly reasonable. So what better than a parliament of Rooks to tell this forest story? Picking up instruments, they simultaneously act, sing and play with dazzling proficiency.

This is a glorious production in every respect, from the witty lyrics and insistent beat of the music to the lavish confection of the set and costumes. Zany, fluid and multilayered, it’s simple and wondrous enough for small children but offers plenty to engage the grown-ups too.

Christopher Price’s myopic Witch is no hook-nosed, cackling crone but a sinister and outrageous villain (and a mean double bass player). Yana Penrose squares up as a bright and capable Gretel to Craig Anderson’s less resourceful Hansel, alarmed at the prospect of “boys in blankets” or “scrambled legs”.

Goldilocks and Red Riding Hood stray into a story that has many magical touches, but shows that magic can’t solve everything. The spell is lost that could have restored the ostracised giant rook to his normal size, but he is ultimately accepted and embraced for what he is. There’s a happy ending for our times.

Verdict
Wittily delightful and highly original twist on a classic fairytale

Production

Production
Hansel and Gretel
Venue
Derby Theatre
City
Derby
Starts
November 30, 2018
Ends
January 5, 2019
Press night
December 4, 2018
Authors
Mike Kenny
Director
Sarah Brigham
Choreographer
Kitty Winter
Set
Neil Irish
Lighting
Emma Jones
Sound
Ivan Stott
Costume
Tim Heywood
Stage manager
Beth Williams (company stage manager), Moby Renshaw (deputy stage manager), Anthony Fearnley (assistant stage manager)
Cast includes
Jack Alexander, Craig Anderson, Elizabeth Eves, Tilly-Mae Millbrook, Yana Penrose, Christopher Price, Jack Quarton, Esme Sears
Casting
Kay Magson
Producer
Derby Theatre
Running time
1hr 55mins