Hansel and Gretel Bluegrass Review - A New Perspective on a Classic Tale

Who would have guessed that Hansel and Gretel of Brothers Grimm fame would end up in depression-era Kentucky? Playwright Bryan Davidson, that’s who. Davidson has crafted a very clever rendering of this classic 1812 fairy tale, ably assisted by narrator Bradley Whitford in a special video performance. The twangy bluegrass of The Get Down Boys adds that certain something to flesh out the Appalachian setting.

Bradley Whitford - Photo by Cooper Bates

Versions of the Grimm fairy tale go back as early as seventeenth century Italy and even into the fourteenth century medieval Great Famine. Key players Hansel and Gretel were also central to Englebert Humperdinck’s famed 1893 opera of the same name. In the past decade, two films also arose from the Grimm fairy tale. The first was released in 2013 and tells the tale of bounty hunters Hansel and Gretel and their adventures while tracking down and killing witches all over the world (“Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters”). The second was released in 2015, a horror genre replay in which Gretel falls under a dark spell and organizes a coven of witches while her twin brother Hansel must fight the supernatural forces controlling her (“Hansel and Gretel”). Clearly, this classic story has gripped the imagination of many over the centuries.

Angela Giarratana as Gretel and Will Mercer as Hansel - Photo by Cooper Bates

In the 24th Street Theater dramatic entry, radio announcer “The Duke” (Bradley Whitford) is telling an apocryphal story about two abandoned children on his broadcast. HANSEL AND GRETEL BLUEGRASS follows Hansel (Will Mercer) and Gretel (Angela Giarratana) after they have been abandoned by their father in the forest while depression poverty and famine cover the land. Their meeting with an evil, blind witch/mountain woman (Sarah Zinsser) is foretold in the original Grimm account. What will happen to the two children in this version of the famed story? Regardless of the outcome, the audience is greeted with fresh slices of pie as they exit the theater.

Sarah Zinsser and Angela Giarratana - Photo by Cooper Bates

Award-winning Debbie Devine directs this gritty fantasy with an eye towards the underlying meaning in such a tale – the abandonment of children in the hopes that they will find a better life somewhere else. The talented cast members manage to turn fairy tale events into harsh reality. Keith Mitchell’s set is eerily real, while Matthew G. Hill’s video design allows scenes to shift effortlessly. Michael Mullen’s costumes, Chris Moscatiello’s sound, Dan Weingarten’s lighting, and Megan Swan’s music direction combine to make this a play that will grip and intrigue.

Angela Giarratana, Will Mercer, and Bradley Whitford - Photo by Cooper Bates

And let’s not forget the sounds and video of The Get Down Boys (Mark Cassidy, Scott Gates, Israel Parker, and Evan Winsor), who keep reminding the audience that they’re in Bluegrass Country. HANSEL AND GRETEL BLUEGRASS is suitable for both children and adults – although younger children might find the play kind of scary.

Will Mercer - Photo by Cooper Bates

HANSEL AND GRETEL BLUEGRASS runs through May 21, 2017, with performances at 3 p.m. on Sundays. The 24th Street Theatre is located at 1117 West 24th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007. Tickets range from $2.40 to $24. For information and reservations, call 213-745-6516 or go online.  

Top of Page

lasplash.com
Join Splash Magazines

Feature Article

Tempflow™ and Tempur-Pedic® Reviews - What 35 Hours of Research Uncovered

Want Your Business to Male a Splash
<!-- #wrapper -->