Dom Phillips, who has been tour manager and technician for many years, has been hiding his light under a bushel – and this year it’s time to get it out and shine it on the show. He has founded Bumblefly Theatre, which is touring Hansel and Gretel in association with Forest Forge.
David Haworth’s clever adaptation of Hansel and Gretel is performed by three actors, one of whom is Dom, and it weaves in elements of other tales including a (very funny) take on Goldilocks, Rumpelstiltskin, Little Red Riding Hood, the Big Bad Wolf and more.
The trio play Hansel, Gretel, their weak father, their horrid stepmother and the wicked witch in the woods, changing costume with speed and skill, manipulating puppets, and generally having a splendid time entertaining the children and their parents, singing, dancing, climbing and telling tall tales.
The pace never flags as snatches of moral fables, glimpses of slogans and a lot of hats make their way onto the stage. Indeed, at one point, a member of the audience is co-opted to play one of the characters.
The second night at Broad Chalke was packed with an audience of rapt young children in the small chairs in the front, their parents, uncles and aunts, grandparents and friends filling the rest of the hall. And every one of them got involved in the performamce. That is just what you need from a Christmas show, and already Bumblefly has been asked back to the venue for the 2016/17 season.
See this collaborative Hansel and Gretel in December at Downton on 2nd January, Bourton [Artsreach] (7th), Gussage All Saints (14th) or Fordingbridge (16th), ending in Ringwood on Saturday 23rd January.
For more details, visit the websites, www.bumbleflytheatre.co.uk or Artsreach at www.artsreach.co.uk for the relevant dates.