New telling for traditional tale

Christmas cheer . . . The cast of Aidan Theatre’s Hansel and Gretel are getting ready to bring the new pantomime to Timaru audiences this Christmas. PHOTOS: CONNOR HALEY

It is not looking like a very merry Christmas for Hansel and Gretel, but maybe you can help them find their way home this holiday season.

Continuing its Christmas pantomime tradition, Aidan Theatre, along with the Purveyors of Ominous Productions, are bringing the story of Hansel and Gretel to Timaru audiences, but not as you know it.

The show was written by local playwright Ben Donaldson and is directed by Aaron Segar, with Megan Holden as the music director and Jessica Diamond on choreography.

A fresh take on the traditional fairy tale, the production features all the high energy fun and audience interaction that pantomimes are known for.

The story follows the titular characters and their misadventures as they are taken away by Lord Kapping, whose job it is to present children for the witch in the woods to eat.

In turn for this he gets paid by the parents of the children under the pretence that they are going away to an amazing place, where the food is free and they they will grow up to be amazing parents themselves.

Lost in the woods . . .Taking on the titular roles of Hansel and Gretel are (from left) Zepplyn Anisy Oudemans, 12, and Stevie Faulkner, 9.

Director Aaron Segar joked that the show at times, was almost more of a horror movie than a Christmas pantomime.

‘‘It’s scary. We have some amazing characters and it will just be a whole lot of fun for all families and all ages.’’

He said Christmas pantomimes were a good way to introduce children to theatre.

The show is being held at the Timaru Scottish Society Hall in Barnard St.

Mr Segar believed it would be the first time in at least a decade a production was held on the stage there.

‘‘I think it is one of the better stages in Timaru to be able to perform on.

‘‘We are so privileged and so lucky to be able to do it and it’s good that we can support the Scottish Society at the same time.’’

It had been a real community effort to put on the show, he said, and t he production was heavily focused on sustainability. The set, props and costumes reused old materials and things were put together by hand.

Production secretary Louise Holman said they had only spent about $30 so far.

There are 100 tickets available each night, with 30 bean bag seats up the front for younger children.

The production opens on Friday, December 22, at 7pm and will run a 2pm matinee and 7pm show on Saturday and Sunday.