Hansel and Gretel is the well-known classic fairy tale of two children who get lost in a wood and take refuge in a cottage where all is not quite as it first appears. Here, kids are still centre stage in the narrative. But for anyone expecting to view the original story in its pantomime grandeur, think again. This dance version is Hansel and Gretel, but not as you know it.
In Uchenna Dance’s modernised re-telling we see Hansel and Gretel catapulted into the present day, where the deep dark wood is swapped for the equally disorienting hustle and bustle of life in London.
Here the role of the witch (a huge part of the original fairytale) is reimagined as a large yellow umbrella, and a sinister fluffy pillow…?! Separated from their kind guardian, and overwhelmed by the sights, sounds and smells of the big city, the brave young duo must outwit the adults they encounter to find their way back to their family.
Vicki Igbokwe, choreographer and founder of Uchenna Dance, (The Head Wrap Diaries, Our Mighty Groove), tells her story with a variety of dance styles, fusing New York club styles of House, Waacking and Vogue, with African and Contemporary dance to an original musical score by Ghanaian composer Kweku Aacht.
The four dancers’ energy drives the show, immersing the children in the story through playful “mime” banter and imaginary games of Hide-and-Seek and Mr. Wolf.
Overall this fun show is an eclectic triumph of imagination, expressive dance and symbolism, beautifully performed by four extremely talented artists. My four-year-old daughter, Sofia really enjoyed the show. In her words: ‘That was weird…but I like weird!’