REVIEW: Taunton creative community's Hansel and Gretel glitters on Castle Green

Somerset County Gazette: A VISUAL hit: Taunton Theatre Association's outdoor Christmas show. A VISUAL hit: Taunton Theatre Association's outdoor Christmas show.

AN OPEN-AIR Christmas production born of ambition, generosity, and a £250 budget, brought the night-time crowds to Taunton’s Castle Green this weekend.

Taunton Theatre Association, conspiring with the town’s creative scene, brought a fresh and festive “promenade performance” version of Hansel and Gretel to the community, free of charge.

The result was a visually and aurally-stimulating mix of cracking classic characterisation, contemporary song, and off-beat, entertaining instrumentals, beautifully-interwoven dance sequences and wowing 3D projections, set in and around the Museum of Somerset’s grounds.

Real highlights included a straight-faced jive-walk to the Jackson Five’s Rockin’ Robin, as David Duthie, The SPACE Company’s course director, cast as Hansel and Gretel's Father, led his wide-eyed children to their unknown fate in the woods.

As the Witch in her gingerbread house, Swannie, long-standing Taunton Thespian, delivered a belter with ‘I Need A Hero’, in her pheasant-feathered get-up, which Gretel (Beth Court) comically accompanied by dancing actions to the lyrics.

Then there was the close – The Prodigy’s Firestarter blaring wickedly as the baddie met her fiery fate.

The patchwork of music, from Stagecoach and Trull School choirs, the Taunton Ukele Strummers, Okoko’s Max Corderoy, The Big Noise, and Hansel, Gretel and the Father’s Take That mash-up, kept the atmosphere electric, as did Nicky Jenks’ School of Dance performers.

Creative producer and trained actress, Beccy Armory, said: “I’m so proud of how everyone pulled their weight and how much effort went into this. The artistic community around here are so committed.”

TTA was formally awarded the lease to re-open the Brewhouse Theatre earlier this month, and plans to open in April 2014. Visit www.tauntontheatre.org.uk

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