Are you looking for a family-friendly show? With no motion picture in town, Colusa’s Stagehands Theater is once again serving lots of laughs and a promise of great entertainment.
‘The (Almost) Totally True Story of Hansel and Gretel’ is a wonderful smashup of beloved, albeit fractured, storybook characters. With the help of a Sergeant and an Inspector, we quickly learn that Hansel and Gretel are not innocent waifs, but criminal masterminds on the run.
With a cast of 25, the opening night performance was flawless and outstandingly entertaining.
When a fairy godmother named Streptococcus (Jayce Ace) arrives on stage, she is upset with her costume, and her wand is less than perfect. She attempts to narrate the story of ‘Snow White’ but finds her cast challenging when her wand summons an ogre named Snow White (Laura Anderson). The wicked stepmother, Brunhilda (Nicole Helms-Lunsford) and the Magic Mirror (Reese Cunningham) refuse to participate in the charade.
Then we are greeted by Inspector Wombat (Ralph Newlin) and Sergeant Ringworm (Sawyer Stocks) who are in search of two horrible, murderous suspects.
When the crowd learns the suspects are Hansel and Gretel, they refused to believe it. Cheering on two unnamed ‘audience participants’ (Abigail Cross, and Colt Fry) who agree to play the part of Hansel and Gretel.
With the tale about over, you’re quick to feel sorry for the poor children; but the quick work of Inspector Wombat and Sergeant Ringworm call out the inaccuracies in the tale and provide a piece together their investigation. Remember those two unnamed audience participants, they were identified as the suspects.
Hansel and Gretel are not the innocent waifs you once believed. Their bad mannered, inconsiderate, and offhand comments make you forgive the weak-willed father, Wilhelm (Ken Woods), and the “evil” stepmother Marta (Laura Weekes) for leaving them in the woods. But this doesn’t come without consequence, as the children continue their wild ways with every character they meet in the woods.
The duo give directions to The Big Bad Wolf (Michael Cole) who awaits Little Red Ridding Hood (Eleanor Jewett); they send Goldie Locks (Reese Cunningham) to the home of the Bear family (Bianka Keelin Scott, William England, Star Plaza), and creates ruckus with the three little pigs (Charlie Guinn, Hailey Griffin, and Amon Jackson). They don’t stop there. They also give ‘magic cookies’ to a poor boy named Jack (Henry Jewett) who was on his way to sell his cow, Blossom (Haiden Parnell), at market and they destroy the dreams of Prince Charming (Ethan Garcia), all with great pleasure. Of course, their real trouble came when they pushed ‘a wicked witch’ Amanita Phalloides (Hope Gallagher) into the oven.
This witty, wonky play has universal appeal and the cast is talented beyond belief. Not only are they fearless on stage and bursting with character, they know where the funny is.
‘The (Almost) Totally True Story of Hansel and Gretel’ wraps with two final performances on Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28, with doors opening at 6:30 PM, and the show starting at 7:15 PM. Tickets are $8 per person and available at the door.
The play is directed by Dina Moresco. Additional cast members include Lilah (Susan Woods), Foxey (Mahkai England), and the sign holder (Anthony Anderson). The wardrobe was compiled by Jeanie Kessinger and Pam Niehues. Makeup was provided by Monica Huey, Terry Knowles, Susan Gibbs, Nicole Lunsford, and Elly Gutierrez. Technical was provided by Devin Kelley and Susan Giggs. Props were provided by Sophia Moresco, Neo Harter, Gabriel Majarrez, George Guinn, Terry Knowles, and Hansel and Gretel. Set was designed and constructed by Gina Moresco, Sue Gibbs, Terri Rivera, Sophia Moresco, Heather Nation, and Cindy Friel. ■