Review: Hansel & Gretel, Customs House, South Shields

HANSEL AND GRETEL ... by Northumberland Theatre Company.
HANSEL AND GRETEL ... by Northumberland Theatre Company.

A GINGERBREAD house with Smartie windows and chocolate doors is a dream come true for most children.

And that dream was made reality last night by the Northumberland Theatre Company – and what a treat it was!

Classic fairytale Hansel and Gretel came to life at the Customs House in South Shields.

The audience was invited into the children’s home and told a story, with the help of their mother and father.

The fun-packed show delivered a laugh a minute as we heard about a young girl and boy whose parents abandon them in the woods, for fear that they can no longer afford to support all the family.

Hansel (Louis Roberts) and Gretel (Rachel Gay) are left alone, hungry, and in danger of being eaten by wild animals until they come across a home made completely of sweet treats.

But they soon learn that it’s too good to be true, when an evil witch (Justine Adams) holds them prisoner, fattening up Hansel to eat.

Songs like Fatten Up The Boy made sure that everyone in the audience – even the adults – had a child-like grin from ear to ear.

The mouse (Marvyn Dickinson) was hilarious as he ran through the audience in search of the witch’s magic spell book.

And the four-strong cast’s use of props was inventive and eye-catching.

With colourful costumes and smiling faces, it was impossible to avoid returning to a state of child-like innocence and joy while watching the actors prance across the stage.

At the end of the show, the cast announced that the Northumberland Theatre Company has had its funding cut and may need to close down.

But what a shame that would be.

After seeing them transform this classic tale from book to stage, in a show to put a smile on even the biggest grump’s face, I urge everyone to go and see them ... soon!