The sweetest treat - Regional News | Connecting Wellington
 Issue 204

The sweetest treat

The festive season is coming early thanks to the Royal New Zealand Ballet. In its 70th anniversary year, the RNZB will raise the curtain on its acclaimed production of Hansel & Gretel at St James Theatre from the 26th to the 29th of October before pirouetting across the motu on a three-month national tour. Talk about a pre-Christmas sweet treat!

Hansel & Gretel first premiered in 2019, enchanting more than 177,000 combined audiences in person and online. Choreographer Loughlan Prior, with composer Claire Cowan and designer Kate Hawley, have created a magical world with delectable characters in their charming interpretation of the classic fairytale.

Prior says it is an immense treat to bring the ballet back to the stage this year.

“Revisiting this character-driven production provides so many wonderful roles for the artists of the RNZB to sink their teeth into, and I’m really looking forward to working with a new generation of dancers to bring this delicious production to life!”

Delicious is quite the understatement. Set and costume designer Hawley’s vision is the ultimate in eye-candy. A sinister chorus line of pink-iced gingerbread men; fantastical fairies; an elegant, wistful Sandman; and a terrifying ice cream witch who may or may not throw the children in her outrageously oversized oven, are just a taste of the visual delights.

Cowan’s “triumph” of a score (Stuff), which saw her become the first woman to compose a full-length score for the RNZB, sweeps the audience away in a unique and inspiring experience for all ages.

RNZB acting artistic director David McAllister says every element of Hansel & Gretel – dance, music, and design – comes together to dazzle from beginning to end.

“It is such a thrill to finish the year with this most delightful and cautionary tale told with such wit and glamour.”

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« Issue 204, September 12, 2023