PITTSFIELD — Barrington Stage Company's "Hansel and Gretel" featuring its Youth Theatre cast and the RagTag Theatre Company opened July 25 at the Berkshire Museum to rave reviews, and there's still time for you to catch it before its run is over.
"So amazing. [It's] great for kids and also for adults ... 100% recommended!" wrote Diana Lotero on a recent Facebook post.
The shows run Wednesdays through Sundays until Saturday, Aug. 10, with two shows on Wednesdays and Fridays. Yesterday we were fortunate enough to send some local moms and their children (ranging in age from age 3.5 to 9 years old) to see the 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. shows and the genuine consensus — DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!
The set is small and simple but colorful with sewn together rags as the backdrop. And like the musical itself, there is humor woven into every set piece and prop throughout the play. From the forest, a simple green sheet with the word "Trees" on it, to the recycled "gingerbread" house constructed of mismatched boxes of Mucinex and other products bought from the local Rite Aid in Pittsfield (at least that's what the audience was told by the cast) these moments made the audience laugh out loud. (If you're wondering what happened to the original gingerbread house, it appears some members of the cast got a little hungry, and well ...)
"It was hilarious and so funny," said local mom, Sara Esko, who took her 9-year-old Jacoby. "It was full of new-age humor and just silly." Although, she said, it may be a bit scary at parts for children under the age of 6.
Kaitlyn Pierce attended the 2 p.m. with her two daughters, 3-year-old Lilah, and 6-year-old Sylvia and believes that the cast's continued interactions with the audience to remind them this was a play and simply make-believe prevented her 3-year-old from being scared. In fact, she said, "Lilah enjoyed it. It was very silly and interactive." Adding that she also would recommend the show for ages 5 or 6 and up due to the fact that "Lilah didn't understand a lot of the humor."
For all the kids, especially Jacoby, the audience interaction was one of the highlights of the performance.
"Jacoby loved it. He loved the witch. The witch was his favorite part ... and he liked the stepmother, too," Sara said. "She kept making eye contact with Jacoby because we were in the very front row, and he kept saying, 'Did you see? She kept looking at me and asking me questions."
There's also an added treat at the end of the show, with opportunities to meet the cast and have your photos taken with them.
"The girls got their pictures taken with Gretel," Kaitlyn said. "That was one of her favorite parts," she laughed.
So the jury is in folks, (at least with our team of reviewers) and it is unanimous: "Hansel & Gretel" is a summertime hit and not to be missed by family members young and old. Seriously, even Alexa makes an appearance, and we're told she's pretty hilarious. Who's Alexa? You know, that famous actress from the Amazon commercials who lives in homes throughout the world? "Alexa play some music."
Well done Barrington Stage Youth Theatre cast and RagTag Theatre Company. You've made a big impression on our local families: "If I ever see another RagTag show advertised I will definitely be there," Sara said. "They were very silly and very interactive. We loved it."
"Hansel and Gretel" runs for approximately an hour and a half, so be aware of your children's ability to sit threw a production like this. Our parent reviewers recommend it for kids ages 5 or 6 and up. The performances take place at the Berkshire Museum located at 39 South Street in Pittsfield, and tickets can be purchased at barringtonstageco.org. If you want to try to win a four-pack of tickets for your family, we currently have a giveaway running that you can enter HERE.
*Our parent and kid reviewers received complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review, but all opinions are their own.