Inspired by rave reviews from friends and family who visited Cscape’s production of ‘Neptunalia’ last year I was first in the queue for tickets to see ‘Hansel and Gretel’ on our doorstep at the Lost Gardens of Heligan.
I often pop into the gardens with my grandchildren for a country walk. We were treated to a sneak preview of the show as the dancers rehearsed on Flora’s Green. My two were entranced and I had a job to drag them away. However, it was a lovely taster to whet our appetite for the real thing the following week.
Cscape is Cornwall’s leading outdoor promenade dance company, and they create performances suitable for all the family. I had not seen them perform before so was really looking forward to our visit. Our group ranged in age from 3-69, so it was a big ask to keep everyone entertained for the evening!
Heligan had a pre-show supper on offer in their new outdoor feast area with cocktails, coffee, and drinks for everyone – a real bonus if you don’t have time to prepare a picnic.
The show was in promenade style, so some of the action was on Flora’s Green where they had made a wonderful log cabin backdrop and we sat on straw bales and blankets. Other scenes required us to follow Captain Winniberg, the girl guide-style leader of the WIMPs (played by the wonderful Bec Applebee, who I have long admired from her time with Kneehigh theatre) through the gardens into the ‘woods’.
The team had really pushed the boat out with sounds and imagery in the woods, a cage to fatten Hansel in, a gingerbread folly and atmospheric coloured lighting, all designed to stretch our imagination. The whole show was magical, exciting, dark, warm and funny. At the interval, the company had set up games for the children to play and coffee to keep the grown ups happy!
I can honestly say that all of us were engaged from beginning to end. The children had the eyes wide, open-mouthed attention that only live performances can engender and are often completely missing from on screen entertainment. I also appreciated the embellishment of a classic fairy tale to bring it to a modern day audience – children don’t read them nowadays which I think is a shame as they often have a message to deliver about the triumph of good over evil.
We are so fortunate to live here in Cornwall with such a wealth of creative talent on offer. I never cease to appreciate how lucky I am.
Heligan is approximately 15 minutes’ drive from Bosinver via the B3273 (look out for the brown tourist signs). Postcode for SatNavs: PL26 7EN.