Hansel and Gretel is an old classic tale of good versus evil. Hansel was depicted by Charlie Allison whose actions as a typical always hungry teenage boy took his sister Gretel, played by Hilary Riel, and him deep into the forest and perilously closer and closer to danger with each step. Emily McConnell and Bill Preston were Hansel and Gretel’s downtrodden parents. Their voices were clear and carried a message of parental love and despair to the audience.
Not to be outdone, Taylor Gibb took on the role of the witch and in spite of a scratchy failing voice managed to draw the audience in with her evil ploy. Dayton Wales was a troll under the bridge. He pulled his role off with troll-like style. Colton Callihoo and Eric Ogrinc were the witches unwilling henchmen and, as goblins, acted with a humour that had people smiling.
Little in size did not mean little in stature. Keaton Whelpton was one of the delightful surprises of the play. He was easy to hear and is a great addition to the Performing Arts group. It is hoped that Keaton and older sister Danika who was the gypsy will be back to perform again in future productions. Thyme Callihoo was a princess and along with Shayla Lindquist the owl, Cody McKinnon the Sand Man and (the other Whelpton), Morgan the Echo they all played a crucial role in the production. This foursome were a welcome addition.
Meghan Mintzler and Kate-lynn Bartlett were the other two children who travelled with Keaton into the dark side of the forest. They gave the children a voice and drew the curious crowd along with them on their journey. Sam Sidhu and Kate Allison were the two cute gingerbread cookies who were released at last near the end.
All in all, the actors, though young, gave solid performances. Even when they forgot their lines, they handled their pauses with the professionalism of budding young stars. The audience laughed when they were supposed to and was taken from the beginning to the end with a bouncing graph of emotions. Young though they may be, it was obvious that the whole cast had worked hard to pull off their marathon weekend. Susan and Josh Herzog thanked the backstage hands, make-up artists, costume designers, stagehands and those, who without, the show would not go on.
It was easy to see that many hands had made Hansel and Gretel into the shining production it turned out to be. Not the least of who should be thanked is the Herzog’s. Josh and mom Susan put an huge amount of time into the play. Their dedication set an example for the rest to follow. Now the only question that remains is…when is the next one?