*Thanks to The Gate for inviting us along
At around an hour long, and with plenty of audience involvement and catchy musical numbers, Hansel and Gretel at The Gate is a perfect show for families with younger children this festive season.
I took my youngest child – three and a half year old Littlest Boy I – to see it this morning at a schools performance, ahead of the show opening officially to the public tomorrow.
Written and produced by Richard Tunley, and directed by Tunley and Sam Davies, Hansel and Gretel marks Black Rat Productions’ eighth year at the arts centre in Roath, Cardiff. The company has created a name for itself for fun and affordable festive family shows – and this year is no exception.
The young audience certainly enjoyed this adaptation of the classic Brothers’ Grimm fairy tale; they were bouncing around in their seats in excitement and really engaging with the cast of four.
Hansel and Gretel’s sibling relationship will resonate with parents of more than one, or anyone who had a love-hate relationship with their own siblings while growing up (or indeed still does!). Played by two very affable young performers, Dan Miles and Jemima Nicholas, they fight, bicker, wind each other up and try to outdo each other in a way that only siblings can. Their rendition of Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better) from the musical Annie Get Your Gun is brilliantly executed and the perfect song to make the point. But ultimately they are, in their own words, “friends forever” and will do whatever it takes to keep each other safe when danger strikes.
John Weldon plays George, their humble woodcutter father who has a strong West Country accent and an obvious love for his children. His musical number with the children – You Two (from the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) – is truly lovely with some great choreography.
However, their happiness is at risk, thanks to his wife Verruca who is actually an evil witch. She hypnotises him into abandoning his children in the woods so she can entrap Hansel and eat him for Christmas dinner. Sarah Jayne Hopkins is deliciously evil as the witch and just the right level of over the top so as not to scare the younger audience members too much.
John Weldon is also puppeteer and voice of Ginger, a very watchable, dancing, singing gingerbread man who ultimately helps free the sibling duo.
The set is minimal and simple – some wooden trees which make way to reveal the gingerbread house covered in sweets. It’s the performances, clever lighting and our own imaginations which drive the performance.
The Gate itself is a great venue for a family performance. It’s a former church and the tiered wooden pews all look down onto the stage, meaning little ones have a clear view. It’s located in a busy residential area of Roath so parking can be tricky but there’s a lovely bar/café area to make use of before and after the performance.
This is a great show for families for whom a full-scale panto is too much. It might not have the lavish costumes or special effects of some of the bigger stage shows – but it’s full of strong performances, plenty of audience involvement, energetic musical numbers, and a feel-good ending where good triumphs.
We highly recommend it.
Hansel and Gretel opens to the public tomorrow with performances as follows. Tickets cost £6 for children and £8 for adults; age guidance 4+.
Saturday 2nd December 11.30am
Friday 8th December 6pm
Saturday 9th December 10.30am and 12.30pm
Friday 15th December 6pm
Saturday 16th December 10.30am and 12.30pm
For more information and to book online visit The Gate website or call the box office on 029 2048 3344.
Photos by Lara Czornyj
WIN A FAMILY TICKET!
One lucky family will get to see the show for free thanks to this fantastic giveaway for a family ticket.
The prize includes a family ticket for four (two adults and two children or one adult and three children) for your choice of performance on 8th/9th/15th/16th December (subject to availability).
For a chance to win leave your answer to the following question on the Hansel and Gretel post on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page. Closing date for entries is Sunday 3rd December at 11.59pm.
Q. What is the name of the gingerbread man
who helps to save Hansel and Gretel.
Terms and conditions:
- There is one prize, consisting of a family ticket (two adults plus two children or one adult and three children) to a performance of Hansel and Gretel at The Gate Cardiff. The winner can chose from performances on 8th/9th/15th/16th December (subject to availability).
- There is no alternative prize.
- Closing date for entries is Sunday 3rd December 2017, 11.59pm.
- Entrants must be 18 years or over.
- To enter, leave your answer to the above question in the comments section of the Hansel and Gretel review and ticket giveaway post on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page.
- The winner will be chosen at random from all correct entries submitted before the closing date. The winner will be informed with a reply to their Facebook comment and a direct Facebook message letting them know they have won. All reasonable attempts will be made to contact the winner. If the winner cannot be within 48 hours the prize will be forfeited and offered to another eligible entrant.
- Cardiff Mummy Says reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions at any time. Any new terms and conditions will be published here.
- Cardiff Mummy Says reserves the right to end this promotion at any time and without notice.
- Cardiff Mummy Says cannot be held responsible for the failure of third party organisations to provide the prize, or for loss, damage or non-arrival of the prizes.
- Relatives of Cathryn Scott, author of Cardiff Mummy Says, may not enter the giveaway.
- Employees or relatives of those employed by The Gate or Black Rat Productions may not enter this giveaway.
- This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.