Monday, September 19, 2016

Barking Gecko Theatre Company's Hansel & Gretel "In A Dark Dark Wood" (Perth, Australia)

West Australian Children's Theatre Company, Barking Gecko, continues its mission of bringing quality theatre to the children of Perth and surrounding areas, with their new fairy tale show In A Dark Dark Wood. The show, a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, uses a modern take, combining live action, shadow puppets and object theater to tell the spooky-yet-magical story.

Hansel and Gretel is one of those tales that makes a huge impression on children and one of the fairy tales children generally remember almost the entire plot of (though often excluding the duck which helps the kids escape, which most modern tellers seem to omit, of not be aware of).

It's pretty neat that the playwright who worked with the creator had traveled the famous Fairy Tale Road in Germany, already aware and immersing himself in the environment out of which grew many of the Grimm's collected tales.
Barking Gecko artistic director Matt Edgerton, who is directing the production, collaborated with award-winning Australian playwright Caleb Lewis on this modern take on the Brothers Grimm fairy taleHansel and Gretel. 
“I was really excited about sort of attacking a Grimms’ fairy tale,” Edgerton said. 
“They’re wonderful stories that have lasted for hundreds of years because they have deep things to say about who we are as humans, but I wanted to do it in a contemporary way. 
“I thought Caleb would be a perfect partner with that because he’s a wonderful lyrical writer, but really playful, and is obsessed with Grimms’ fairy tales; he’s walked the Grimms’ fairy tale route in Germany, reading nothing but their fairy tales as he went.” 

Edgerton said he was drawn to Hansel and Gretel because of its universal themes. 
“There’s something about the central idea around the fear of abandonment which every child knows,” he said. 
“And most adults have repressed it in some way, but it’s still in us. 
“It’s a beautiful story because it explores that in a really full way and finishes with the message that all of us have the power to find our way home. 
“There’s hopefulness at the end and the idea that theatre is a safe place to explore dangerous ideas is true for something like Hansel and Gretel.” 
Barking Gecko admits to having a lot of fun with their version, aimed at children aged 6 and up. There's "fun, magic and an excess of junk food" - what wouldn't a kid love about that?
Here's their description:
In a Dark Dark Wood is a magical fantasy that brings Hansel and Gretel to a new generation in a strikingly original retelling of the Grimms’ classic fairy tale. 
Pippa and her little brother Mo live in a caravan at the edge of the woods. Since Dad hurt his back cutting wood, the family has struggled to make ends meet. Even though they may be poor, the children are gifted with a rich imagination.After Pippa gets the worst birthday present ever and overhears her worried parents talking, she decides the way to help, is to leave. Pippa packs her belongings and takes off into the woods, with little brother Mo hot on her heels.Hopelessly lost in the dark, dark woods, the pair stumble onto a lonely beach and discover a world with no rules and endless ice cream! But all is not what it seems. Pippa and Mo will have to call on all of their imaginative powers to escape! 
With spooky puppets, magical animals and fast paced storytelling, this theatre production will take audiences aged 6 and over through the dark, dark woods and safely home again. 
Recommended for ages 6 and up – Contains spooky bits that may make your knees wobble! 
Running time approximately 60 minutes

Where and when: 

  • UWA’s Dolphin Theatre (September 23-24)
  • Prendiville Performing Arts Centre, Ocean Reef (September 27),
  • Kalamunda Performing Arts Centre (September 29)
  • Don Russell Performing Arts Centre, Thornlie (October 4)
  • Mandurah Performing Arts Centre (October 6-8)

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