Having attended the Scottish Ballet’s Hansel and Gretel workshop, I was enthusiastic to attend the actual performance. I hoped to see how the movements we used were incorporated into the show and to see the true technical qualities of the dancers we had worked with.
The show started with young dancers being lead into the wicked witches house. I was impressed to observe the inclusive nature of the performance and it showed the extent to which Scottish Ballet worked with professionals and young dancers.
The performance had a modern twist which reminded me on Matthew Borne’s Nutcracker. The story was led by Hansel and Gretel but the professional dancers were involved at various points to provide technical ballet.
The mother provided excellent example of a mother who relied on her kids and loved her husband. Her husband and his friends enacted a funny drunk dance. Which was difficult to perform but also amusing. The evil witch had a great cape and this was used to best effect to make her appear fairy like and mystical. The best transformation was the evil witch. The contrast of the glamorous witch had four levels as a schoolteacher seducing her pupils with sweets pre-curtain then she turns late-night vamp as Hansel and Gretel set off through the town. Later, she rides in splendor on the backs of Ravens into the pair’s dreams. Finally, the Witch reveals her true, vile appearance.
Witch Before Witch After
I particularly loved how she started with a beautiful dress and hair but when the children entered her house she put on a cardigan with a hump, fluffy slippers and a wig with little hair.
The performance had excellent use of props. I particularly liked how the table became a cage, the witch descended on a moon, the fire killed the witch and the toy cupboard released toy dancers.