Hansel and Gretel

Kneehigh Theatre
Everyman Theatre
17th March - 3rd April 2010

Reviewed by Nadia Baha

Do you remember the time when you liked reading fairytales or when someone read fairytales to you? I always loved it. I admit, some bits scared me but all the bad people died or disappeared in the end, and my little world was safe again. Funny, but somehow politics works like that. But there are hardly ever happy endings. It is hard to tell who are the good guys and who are the bad ones.

In fairytales it is an easy task. The good-hearted wood cutter family is good, they help everyone and look after their children. Everything is ok in their world, until storms and bad harvest leave them with too little food to survive. So the parents send their children in the forest and leave them. There is no such thing as social services in a fairytale so they get away with it, and we know they only do that because they love their children so much and couldn’t feed them if they stayed with them. If the family lived in Africa would the parents let Madonna adopt their children?

Of course, the witch is bad and wants to eat Hansel; we all know the story. They can escape and take all the food they can carry from the witch’s house. Happy ending, applause, curtain.

The play is much more than an excellent adaption of the famous fairytale. It is a clever piece of theatre with excellent music that reminded me of the Tiger Lillies. In the booklet it says: ”Hansel and Gretel is a show about home, about the need for it, the quest for it and the loss of it. Home sometimes presents itself in the most surprising forms and at the most surprising times. Keep looking and keep an eye out for those who want to take it from you, the world can be full of sugary imitation.”

It was very easy to judge whether this was a good or a bad play. I loved it.

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