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L.A. Beat

Cast has lots of fun with Hansel and Gretel

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ICamille Pavlenko and Kelly Malcolm rehearse for New West Theatre’sproduction of hansel and Gretel. Photo by Richard Amery f your kids are getting antsy, or maybe you just want to get out and do something frantic and fun, check out the matinee of New West Theatre’s Theatre for Young People’s production of Hansel and Gretel running at Casa at 1 p.m. until Jan. 6.
 Director Sharon Peat penned the hour long adaptation of popular children’s tale Hansel and Gretel.

It features energetic cast members Kelly Malcolm, Ryan Reese and Camille Pavlenko playing an array of different characters using a variety of different accents as the kids (Ryan Reese and Camille Pavlenko) act out the story with their babysitter (Kelly Malcolm).

 As always there is crowd participation as the audience is asked to “act like water” to scare away trolls chasing the Hansel and Gretel, a fun device that could be used a little more often.

They tell the story well. They have a lot of fun with their characters and their audience as an audience member is asked to help free them from the clutches of the witch, played gleefully by a cackling Kelly Malcolm. Malcolm is delightful as “the big tree” cracking tree related puns.They also break the fourth wall a couple of times, as Reese nods knowingly at the audience, stating while they may know the story, Hansel and Gretel don’t.

 Pavlenko is always a pleasure to watch, grinning, joking and mugging throughout the show. And Reese almost has too much fun with his giant cowboy hat, which the sitter banned from using in the story, during the big chase scene between the witch and the kids.

 In addition to the laughs and the frantic action, Peat’s interpretation  also carries a good message about working together and looking out for each other.
Hansel and Gretel takes a break Jan 1-4 but continued at 3:30 p.m., Jan. 5 and 1 p.m., Jan 6.

— By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor
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