Tis the season for magic, friendship, and hope. The magic is evident in the tenderness and glee executed beautifully from top to finish by the cast and crew of Metro Theater Company’s production of Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates.
The stories premise surrounds the economic misfortunes of the Brinker family, warmly performed by Pete Winfrey and Sigrid Wise as brother Hans and sister Gretel, whose mother (played by Jennifer Theby-Quinn) and mentally trapped father (played by Spencer Sickmann) are unable to provide the stability and comforts they so sweetly deserved. Supported by the endearing, but the unwanted friendship of Heidi von Gleck (charmingly portrayed by Erika Flowers-Roberts), Hans and Gretel are encouraged to follow their love for skating by competing in a race for Silver Skates.
Antony Terrell, Erick Lindsey, and Jennifer Theby-Quinn give very enthusiastic performances as the other children of the town; the somewhat snotty bullies of the unfortunate Hans and Gretel. The distinction between their characters (Terrell played three and Lindsey and Theby-Quinn played two) were perfectly magical, so much so that you forget that they are the same actors we’ve just witnessed as the adult characters!
The pulse of the play is spectacularly composed by Jay Ansil and arranged by Roxanne McWilliams the latter of whose accordion, keyboard, and recorder eloquently allude to the winter wonderland that hovers over the theater. The set design, by David Blake, is reminiscent of a snow globe and a children’s pop-up book serving as a great, setting for this children’s tale. Initially feeling like an optical illusion with its evergreen tree and windmill cutout; simple but beautiful, not distracting from the story.
The actors glide beautifully with grace and energy around the stage floor and even down and around the entrances and exits. An amazing and invigorating use of the Grandel theater. Speaking of gliding! What a treat for adults and children alike to see the whimsical choreography of Jamie McKittrick, coupled with Julia Flood’s direction.
My only critiques are on the accents present only when speaking the names of the characters, which were a bit obtrusive to my ears and the passage of time between a couple of the scene changes, which I mention with some understanding for the actors who were cast (or characters who were written) in multiple parts. As an ensemble, this troupe of actors kept the scenes moving and the story flowing. I encourage seeing this with children because the magic is even more real when the gasps and giggles of the children in the audience echo that of the characters on stage.
Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates can be seen through December 30 at The Grandel! CLICK HERE to get your tickets.