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Hansel & Gretel

December 14, 2012


Event: “Hansel & Gretel” by W!ld Rice
Venue: Drama Centre Theatre
Run: 22nd Nov – 15th Dec 2012
Book & Lyrics: Alfian Sa’at
Music Composer/Arranger: Elaine Chan
Director: Pam Oei
Music Director: Joel Nah
Cast: Dwayne Tan, Denise Tan, Sebastian Tan, Siti Khalijah, Dwayne Lau, Vernetta Lopez

“A Refreshing Treat”.
That’s what comes to my mind when I caught W!ld Rice’s latest year-end pantomime.

A break from the usual ‘princess-prince’ story of previous years, Hansel & Gretel brings a story of sibling unity that wins over ‘evil’. It’s nice to explore other types of fairytales once in a while. Besides the type of story, it was Pam Oei’s directorial debut, which brings another perspective as well. Honestly, I still miss Pam on stage, but it’s great to see her getting creative in other areas. This time around, I felt the musical repertoire was also refreshing in the sense that it was a tad different in its tunes and style, thanks to Elaine Chan who seems to have varied her style a little this year.

As per the localised pantomime tradition, political and social references were inevitable, although they were not too in-your-face. Not really that much on politics, they were more of the fads and current affairs of the year/season. Like the brief reference to the recent strike, the William & Kate Queenstown visit, Sun Ho, the gangnam style duel and “Death At First Light”. I find the subtlety inclusive, enabling all to enjoy the show even if you didn’t get it, thanks to the script and lyrics too. However, there were those things that only the adults would understand, but it’s a balance to make while the children enjoyed other aspects of the show. I was guessing that the story would go the way of “bad eyesight” and it did!

The whole cast did well in playing their roles, and I believe most enjoyed Siti Khalijah’s performance whether in her maid, minah or final conservative roles, bringing humour and a good song and dance to the show. It’s also been a while since I heard Sebastian given full rein to show off his vocal range and his Chef (and sergeant) was quite engaging and entertaining as well.

And what not to like when you had delectable treats with all the Bengawan Solo cakes and kueh giveaways which were “tossed” to the audience to eat! That generated a little excitement and interaction among the audience. It was fun watching the cast simply plucking the goodies from the candy house set to eat and pass to the audience. Well, I didn’t catch any, but it had me craving for 九层糕 (9-layer cake).

A lively and delightfully colourful show to catch and enjoy with friends and family.

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