Young Critics Review 2018 – Hansel and Gretel Second Review
This haunting new version of the Grimm’s fairytale left me spellbound and only just with a dry eye. This adaptation of a masterpiece followed the original storyline with a few added extras.
The narrator sang the adult character’s lines and spoke those of the children and described everything that we needed to understand. Using the same voice, she brought to life 3 drawings, 2 puppets and some smaller characters. Her tone changed throughout and the varying pitch of her singing added a gruesome vibe to the experience.
The all round look and feel of the performance made it interesting. Projections in black and white with occasional red gave an amazing atmosphere and along with the music formed a background that set the scene. They also used unusual materials to make sounds that were scratchy or faded.
A part that was slightly strange was that they called their children cold and hungry. This is strange as Hansel means a gift from God and Gretel means Pearl. These names must be nicknames to signify their situation.
The parts that I will remember were the repetition and similes used throughout for example: that the place was like a horror film after dark or that animal noises were like swear words. There were also some unusual phrases like a 5-day jomp. The endless lists of confectionery made me think the children were spoilt for choice especially as they had barely tried sugar. Also it was said that you found dodgy sellers on street corners, which made me wonder whether there was a black market for sugar. The use of toys in the performance symbolised an air of innocence.
I liked the use of wry humour like the Heinzel und Gretel soup can. This reminded me that the story is actually German and was set during the war also shown by the destroyed setting and buildings. I found the end very lovely and I won’t give anything away but I love that it gives you a sign of hope. A sign of hope for Hansel and Gretel and their father. A sign of hope for their future.
I really enjoyed this variation of Hansel and Gretel as although it told the old story, it was fitting for 2018. Also, it was fittingly dark and spooky to be a grown-up adaptation of a happy, moral telling fairy tale. There were a few swear words but nothing that the age range (12+) couldn’t handle! I would definitely recommend this to everyone but I think teenagers would really enjoy it, as it is a good way to reminisce whilst watching something that you can actually enjoy!
By Martha Skerry.