RANDOLPH, NJ – The talented students of Randolph High School blew away the audience with their wonderful performance of “The (Almost) Totally True Story of Hansel and Gretel" a humor filled show presented by the RHS Drama Club.

“My high school actors take demanding classes and are often involved in other extra-curricular activities,” said Cara Canfield, RHS Theater Program Artistic Director. “But, they give everything they have to their time on this stage. I often marvel at their ability to balance it all.”

A few minutes into the play, two police officers come on stage and say they are looking for Hansel (Jason Perniciaro) and Gretel (Haley Ornstein), two young delinquents. The first half of the one-act play shows Hansel and Gretel’s side of the story, the traditional story, and then Police Officers’ (Carly Francesconi and Jordan Pontelandolfo) tell their side.

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Hansel and Gretel’s side of the story is the traditional fairy tale most everyone knows, with the husband remarrying after his wife dies, and the new wife tries to rid herself of the pair, ( her husbands children) by ultimately leaving them in the forest to be eaten. When it is the police officers’ turn to tell their side of the story, the familiar tale has a dramatic plot twist in which Hansel and Gretel are not the innocent children the audience perceives, carrying viewers into a hilarious, unexpected conclusion.

Student assistant director Shannon Goldstein stated, “This production really allowed everyone to grow and have fun with many people who truly support them and love them.”

From the over the top accents to the witty sarcasm displayed by the cast members, the auditorium was left with tears of laughter. Notable performers in addition to Ornstein and Perniciaro were Alexa Nodine as Streptococcus, and Rachel Malaga as Amanita Phalloides. These actors all showed the audience their passion for theatre by pouring their heart and soul into the performance. .

“This show was a great way to start off the year in Drama Club,” said senior Rachel Malaga, who is the Drama Club president., “We all became so close and the show really came together.”

It was clear to all members of the audience that everyone gave their full effort on the stage, all while having fun.

“This cast is truly my happily ever after,” said Ariana Pereira, a senior who plays Brunhilda and is the Improv Captain for the Drama Club.  

Pereira’s sentiments were evident at the shows end, when the bows, hugs, and smiles on stage made it clear that the cast felt like they were one big family.

“This play allowed us to create magic and put smiles on little kids’ faces,” said Carly Francesconi, who plays Inspector Wombat and is President of RHS Choir Council. “I loved watching all of the fairytale characters come to life.”

A  lighthearted twist on a fairytale we all thought we knew, crossed with great actors, made the play a hit with little kids and adults alike.

“It was a very clever show. The kids did a great job; the costumes and sets were amazing,” said audience member Myra, a friend of a proud grandparent of a performer. “Hansel and Gretel were very, very good. The whole cast was great and enthusiastic.”

While audience members were walking out of the auditorium, the cast was standing outside still in costume, signing autographs and keeping character. Laughs were spread among the crowd as the cast spoke to audience members while maintaining their accents; a performer who “mooed” like a cow in the play would only “moo” in response. The performers never broke character, improvising perfectly.

Kids and families took pictures with them and enjoyed speaking to the cast about the show. Overall, the night was deemed to be a great success by all involved.

The show marked a strong start to the year for the RHS Drama Club,  who now turns their focus to the upcoming Cabaret Night on February 3rd, and the musical, Annie, in the spring.