Hansel & Gretel

Everyone knows the classic yet creepy German fairy tale Hansel & Gretel.  It tells the story of two siblings who find a gingerbread house in the forest only to be kidnapped by the home’s hungry witch.

With the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, Hansel and Gretel’s babysitter is in no mood to take care of children.  With younger Hansel by a lead, the babysitter scolds him then flees the scene, leaving the siblings in a shopping mall.  The older Gretel tries to calm her brother’s fears by doing a poignant and emotional act that echoes throughout the play.  Hansel and Gretel gently tap each other’s fingers, grasping their hands, then taking a deep breath.  It’s a constant reminder that the pair will be okay because they have each other.

Hansel & Gretel at Synetic Theatre

After rambunctious Hansel breaks Gretel’s beloved snow globe, they bump into a wreath sending a snowy white owl into flight.  Pay attention to the owl as he is significant in the play.  A wind storm transports the trio to a magical forest where my favorite scene occurs.  The wonder that is nature shows the siblings watching a stag grazing in the trees.  The curious children befriend the male deer and continue on their journey.

Hungry and cold, Hansel and Gretel approach the gingerbread house where they munch on candy canes, lick icing from the walls and guzzle gumdrops.  The larger than life, yet non-scary witch beckons them inside her confectionary cottage.  Inside Hansel discover more sweet treats while Gretel is enticed by fancy dresses and jewelry.

Hansel & Gretel at Synetic Theatre

As in any true fairy tale, there is always a happy ending.  After the show, my daughter and I wanted to make a gingerbread house.  It’s a great activity to coincide with the show.

Hansel & Gretel is a wordless production.  This was my first time attending a performance where body movements and music were the only sounds you hear.  Gretel, played by Sharisse Taylor said, “I like to think of a wordless show as its own language.”  While the playbill gives a synopsis, my daughter and I didn’t pay attention to it before the show.  This allowed her to ask me questions like “what are they doing” and “why is the witch wearing a mask?”  The production allows children to use their imagination yet it still can spark emotions within the viewer.  I will say kudos to Raven Wilkes.  She plays the puppeteer who makes balancing on stilts look like a cake walk.

The play runs just under one hour and is appropriate for all ages.

Additional Information

  • Hansel & Gretel is on stage until December 23, 2017.  Showtimes are Thursday to Sunday at 11 a.m. and an additional 2 p.m. performance on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 866-811-4111.  Tickets are $20 per person;  seniors and military receive a $5 discount.
  • On December 9, there will be a VIP Member Reception.  Tickets include a 2 p.m. performance followed by a reception with the cast and crew of Hansel and Gretel.
  • Synetic Theater is located in the underground Crystal City Shops.  There is a parking garage around the corner from the theater and it’s free weekday evenings and all weekend long.
  • Photography and recording is not allowed.

Photos by Johnny Shryock

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