Ruby Productions: The Story of Hansel and Gretel - Review by Annalise Pittman
Everyone knows the story of Hansel and Gretal as a much loved fairytale but few would know the story as told by Ruby Productions. With a cast of young performers Ruby Productions has brought to life this well loved story for an audience of both adults and children alike.
The production is filled to the brim with adorable performances and young actors starting their careers with a bang. I have to start with the lead actors Dean Guggemos and Willow Szcygiel as Hansel and Gretal. Both were tasked with a large script full of perfectly timed moments and they both handled it beautifully. Just to add to her amazing performance Willow shocked with her beautiful singing voice especially during the song ‘Sleep’. They both aptly displayed the relationship between a brother and sister with all its ups and downs. Willow in particular displayed a clear understanding of the teenage attitude and used it to her advantage throughout the performance. Dean played the little brother role with confidence especially when pushing the boundaries and drinking the last of the milk.
I was incredibly taken with the two young goblins Frick and Frack. They were engaging and hilarious. Leah Guggemos and Ellie Gal took to the roles with ease and were by far the stars of every one of their scenes. Ellie has excellent comic timing and Leah is definitely a star to watch. I found myself waiting for these two stars to come on stage and they certainly did not disappoint each time they did. Even a difficult musical number could not stump them. A special mention should go to the young performers who played the gingerbread cookies. They were lots of fun to watch. Glen Levett was a joy as both the Troll and the Owl. His presence on the stage was demanding and he had a voice that was made for the stage. One of the absolute stars of the show was Kirsten Hansen as the Witch. Her interaction with the audience was a great way to draw the audience, especially the kids, into the show. She perfectly portrayed the evilness of the witch and had a very impressive cackle and scream. Although her witchyness might have been a little dimed with the loss of her prosthetic nose she certainly took the role and made it her own.
As the opening performance of the show there were some nerves and some hiccups with lines but these will undoubtedly work themselves out as the production continues to run. I wonder about the choice to set the show in the 80s. I didn’t see any real purpose to this except for the costumes (which to be fair were a lot of fun), and possibly the fact that only in the 80s would parents let their kids go walking in the woods at night. I also wonder about the use of the doors as staging. I’m not sure that they add anything to the performance and are a little confusing especially when the characters were in the forest.
Overall I really enjoyed this performance and left with a smile on my face.
I give this performance 4 out of 5 gingerbread cookies