There seems to be a pattern in the past couple of years of theatre creatives retelling classic stories with a heavy focus on the female characters involved. While many people will think that this is just a step in the pursuit of political correctness and equality but so much more than just a people-pleasing scheme but have been the cornerstone of many of the best musical I have seen in recent years (such as & Juliet which my review of can be found here – https://rhysopayne.wordpress.com/2020/02/07/julet-reciew/?preview=true ) The soundtrack to the musical “Gretel” is no exception! This musical (with a book written by Liv Warden and music/lyrics by Charlie Turner) in set 1940 England which is being torn apart by World War Two and in the process sod being evacuation a girl find her mother old storybook of Hansel and Gretel. With the story the character are growing more and more restless without having an audience or perform to so Gretel takes it upon herself to remind both mother and daughter the joy her classic story can bring. As you can imagine this is a reimagined telling of the fairytale complete with musical numbers which are perfect for a young teenage audience who are familiar with the traditional story of Hansel and Gretel but are old enough to understand the comedic allusions to strong language within the lyrics, which happens fairly frequently throughout the show. The show itself had a run at London’s Other Place theatre and the show only came to 1 hour and 20 minutes which makes for a very easy watch/listen but what is truly the icing on the cake is that all the proceeds from the show went to aid Galop which is an LGBT+ anti-violence and abuse charity. Not only are watching an incredible show but also are supporting a wonderful charity which is fantastic!
My favourite number in the entire show would have to the opening number titled “Down in the Woods” as it was not what I expected. It starts as you would expect any musical theatre show to do but after about the one minute 5-second mark, the music starts to pick up with a swell in the orchestra accompaniment including a killer drum solo which was fantastic. This song is a party anthem that got me super excited for the rest of the show. It’s a super catchy song that will stay in your head hours after you have finished listening to it which is equal parts great and equal parts super annoying. Not only is this a fun and catchy song but also it has a plethora of comedic moments (including jokes about wanting to keep the show pg and also the like “this is the wicked witch, we think she’s a really …. witch!”) This song transitions for cheesy opening Number to a party anthem and many comedic moments which fantastic and takes you on a musical adventure I. The space of 4 and a half minutes. The reprise of this song performed by Gregor Duncan is sinisterly spectacle as Gregor is a very talented performer with an incredible voice who invested a lot character-wise into the performance.
The duet “Opposite You” was a beautifully performed song by Gregor Duncan and Rebecca Lauren whose voice complimented each other perfectly to form a feast for the ears when both performers sang together. I enjoy the sections of this sung were both singers were a performer and I think that the Mariah Carey style vocal run was wonderfully unnecessary but also so totally welcomed. Another emotional number within the soundtrack was “We Were Hers” which was an incredibly moving song about the loss of innocence. The song’s beginning seemed very wicked-esque about it and the later moments was very emotionally driven and beautifully performed by the insanely talented Elle MacAllen. I also really loved the closing number of the show which was a reprise of the iconic song feet on the ground. I think it was a fantastic way to end the show as having this number as a reprise helped create a full circle moment to end the show with a reminder to listen to say in the real world as life is not a fairytale. This ties the story of the show which is a fantastic inclusion in my opinion.
Overall this is a very fun musical that covers a lot of genres including many hilarious moments throughout. It portrays some very important themes and I can only imagine how grand the sets and dragging would be for a live performance. I would rate this show 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to anyone young teenagers who loves musical theatre!