Meet Hansel & Gretel...

4 December 2018


We sat down with the young cast playing Hansel and Gretel to find out more about their characters and why the show this year is so special.

AA = Amelie Abbott (Gretel) | BR = Billy Rilot (Hansel) | OS = Oliver Smith (Hansel) | SV = Sylvie Varcoe (Gretel)

Can you tell us what Hansel & Gretel is about and why the story appeals to you? 
AA: Hansel & Gretel is about bravery, adventure, kindness and hope. It appeals to me as there are so many different characters who learn to support each other through tough times. Through the good and bad, if you just believe there is always hope.
BR: It is about two siblings who have to face their worst fears, and a witch! They become closer in the process and the relationship between the two of them ends up making them win. The story appeals to me because it involves everything… love, adventure and a massive battle!
OS: Hansel & Gretel is a story where two children uncover a world of magic. They fight great foes and love each other all the more. The story is appealing to me as it encompasses all the great aspects of a Christmas story.
SV: It is a story about two siblings that get pushed around and tested at every corner but they grow to find the magic inside themselves. I love how much they fight and wind each other up, it reminds me of my own sister!

Tell us a bit about your character and what you are enjoying most? 
AA: I am playing Gretel. She has a strong personality and believes she is always right, especially where her brother Hansel is concerned. But inside she misses her mother and struggles with the weight of responsibility. I am enjoying the opportunity to be a part of this production and work with an incredible cast. Every day feels like Christmas!
BR: Hansel is a cheeky, cake-loving boy who is innocent but knows more than he tells, he appears dumb but is smarter than anyone thinks. I’m enjoying using the pan pipes, it’s fun and another way for Hansel to annoy everyone!
OS: Hansel is mischievous, brave and most of all a funny character who is the light to his sister’s dark. I enjoy working with such a wonderful company the most.
SW: Gretel is a brave and truthful character who loves her brother more than anything. I’ve loved creating her character and involving bits of myself in her. I find myself playing her in the real world when I don’t mean to and I get weird looks on the bus!

Hansel & Gretel is a classic Brothers Grimm tale but what can audiences expect from this festive new version and do you have a favourite moment in the show?
AA: Audiences can expect to meet lots of fairy-tale characters including Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Snow White. But each character has an untold story which isn’t what you expect. There are lots of adventures through the woods, battles with witches and a hidden fairy land called Grub. My favourite moment is the famous gingerbread house scene.
BR: The new story is darker and more extreme than the original tale, and features many classic Brother’s Grimm characters – it features happiness, comedy, sadness and love.
OS: This new story takes a far more extreme look in combining all of the fairy-tale characters and reminds us that life is really not a fairy-tale.
SV: It has a lot more meaning and truth under all the cheesy jokes so expect the unexpected! I don’t want to spoil anything but the ending is quite magical…

What is it like to work with the cast of young actors?
BR: It’s really refreshing and working with many people of different ages is great as you get to meet and be friends with people from all walks of life.
OS: I love the vast range of ages as the friends you make, whether they are 11 or 18, will be kept for life.
SV: You learn so much and it’s such a fun experience. It doesn’t matter how old anyone is in either of the casts, everyone works so well together.

The story of Hansel & Gretel is all about adventure, if you could go on an adventure anywhere where would you go and why? 
AA: I’ve always wanted to go to New York and visit Central Park. The best adventure I could have there would be to perform on Broadway. That would be amazing!
BR: I would travel to Peru and venture through the vast unexplored jungles along with my friends, discovering new things and making new amazing memories.
OS: I would go to a fantasy world to fight dragons and beasts and discover how to use magic.
SV: Oh, goodness, I like the sound of the island from ‘lord of the flies’ but maybe without the plane wreck, or the killing!

What do you love most about Christmas and what was the best present you have ever received?
AA: I love Christmas because of spending time with my family and seeing their faces when I give them presents. I also love the twinkly lights and smells of Christmas. The best present I have ever received was my iPad pro.
BR: I love all the food at Christmas and having a massive roast dinner on Christmas day. The best present I received was a Star Wars light sabre toy, I was so happy and have never enjoyed something more.
OS: I personally love the food of a roast dinners and sweets. My favourite present was a real sword!
SV: I love all the songs, every year my family plays all the classics and my mum loves a bit of Bublé. I love getting all the warm fuzzy socks, you can never run out of those!

Describe your perfect gingerbread house…
AA: My perfect gingerbread house has loads of icing, chocolate buttons and marshmallow chimney. Yum!
BR: It would be made of chocolate and covered in smarties and M&M’s.
OS: My perfect gingerbread house would not be gingerbread at all… it would be pure chocolate!
SV: I love gingerbread, so plain is brilliant for me! Maybe a whipped cream moat, with sour skittles for grass!

And finally, tell us your best Christmas cracker joke… 
AA: Why did the Turkey join a rock band? Because he already had the drum sticks.
BR: What did Adam say before Christmas? It’s Christmas, Eve!
OS: Who hides in the bakery at Christmas? A mince spy!
SV: What do you call a reindeer with no eyes? No eyed deer!

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