'Tis the season to be jolly..........
If you needed reminding that it is December, then all that was required to remedy this was a trip to The Dovehouse Theatre in Solihull to see Youth OnStage's Christmas production of Hansel and Gretel. Alan P Frayn's original pantomime brought the timeless children's fairy tale to life, and there was festive fun aplenty as all the characters within the tale were brought magnificently to the stage by this talented and energetic group, accompanied by some unusual and not quite so well known ones, as is to be expected in a pantomime!
The title characters were played beautifully by ten year old twins Conor and Caitlin Dodds. Their composure and assurance on stage was made all the more surprising by the fact that this was their first production with Youth Onstage. Out of a cast of very strong young people, there were some stand out performances, including Mark Cornaby as Wally, Alicia Flint as Witch Nightshade and Alex Currie as Peggy Pumpernickel.
With it being officially 'silly season', there was an abundance of audience participation and corny jokes, all of which added to the overall enjoyment of the production. There were some excellent song choices, including the iconic 'I'm A Lumberjack', 'Black Magic' and 'The Woodcutter Song'.
The entire cast worked brilliantly as a team and their enthusiasm and dynamism were as infectious as they were tangible, so much so that everyone left the auditorium still singing the final musical number 'Reach'! It was plain to see from the audience perspective how much these young folk enjoy performing together, and they maintained their energy levels and focus right until the very last note was sung and the very last bow was taken.
Credit must go to the entire production team of Deb Brook (Director), David Jones (Musical Director) and Amy Evan (Choreographer) for the well drilled and animated acting, singing and dancing. The Dovehouse provides an excellent performing space and it was utilised well, with a colourful, eye catching set and some very cheery costumes.
If you are still feeling a bit 'bah humbug' about the festive season, grab yourself a ticket and you'll soon be feeling completely in the mood for some Christmas cheer!
'Hansel and Gretel' runs at The Dovehouse Theatre until Saturday 8th December.
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