- July 11, 2018
Hansel and Gretal at the newly opened St Augustine’s Centre, near Preston Park in Brighton, is a joint production by Smikle Dance Project and Shoreditch Youth Dance Company (SYD). Artistic Director, Lee Smikle, who is the founder of both dance companies, has also worked at Matthew Bourne’s acclaimed New Adventures dance company alongside professional dancer and choreographer, Glen Graham, who gave a brilliant guest performance as father in this production of Hansel and Gretal. There are nine dancers working on this production altogether, both professional and amateur. On the performance I watched, Amber Gott made an excellent debut performance as a crow and Georgia Heighway’s dark double role as scheming mother and cannabilistic witch was set in opposition to the playful innocence of two children danced by Sebastian Kapps and Gaby Conn. Lee has taken his affection for fairytales and created a fantastic production where the dancers move in a kaleidoscope of colour, form and space.
The looks on their faces meld with their expressive and graceful movements to give meaning to the story accentuated and connected by Italian composer, Ezio Bosso’s music, Jelmur Tuinstra’s lighting and sets by Andrew Siddal. Costumes were created by third year students of Wimbledon College of Art including human sized crows with feathers and beaks, a long floppy-eared rabbit and a witch enveloped in a cape casting spells from an old dusty book. The audience follows the performance as it weaves through the old church from side chapel to the altar with emotive intensity until the climax when Gretal finally pushes the witch into the oven! SYD have tweeted “The Crows were a big fav of our younger audience members.”
Photo by Danilo Moroni.
Hansel is Kai Tomioka, Gretal is Katy Mills,
Rabbit is Amber Gott
Crow is Jumar Aben
Review by Valmae Young