The Rose Theatre’s Christmas show is back to its best for 2018
Almost a yuletide tradition in itself is the wait to find out how good, or how goddamn awful, the Rose’s annual Christmas show is, like spinning a ball on a roulette wheel and waiting for it to drop. And last year’s surreal and psychedelic ‘Alice in Wonderland’ plumbed new depths.
Thankfully, this year’s offering – again written by Ciaran McConville – is as far away from that as it could possibly be: it’s an absolute delight.
When Gerhardt the Mayor offers orphan siblings Hansel and Gretel the chance of a new life in the big city, despite Hansel’s slight reluctance, there’s little reason to not take the opportunity. After all other children have left before them. And so they are led from the town by the Huntsman. But they soon find out that things outside the town are not as everyone believes.
Regular attendees will see Rosie Jones’s production as a coming of age for the Rose Youth Theatre – most of the performers are assertive enough to blend effortlessly with the usual five or six ‘adult’ actors – Georgina White’s witch particularly standing out – as the brother and sister find themselves in a makeshift village full of fairytale characters and then in the witch’s dungeon.
Toe-tapping songs by Eamonn O'Dwyer involve the whole cast and are performed as well as any West End production. And as an aside to the main story, children will identify with the awkwardness of young love for both Hansel and Gretel. All played in front of a huge book where the pages effortlessly set the ever-changing background expertly. Rose Theatre roulette? This time they’ve hit the jackpot. Don’t hesitate.
BY: DAVE FAULKNER