Bread Crumbs

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As part of the Poppy Seed Festival, Bread Crumbs is a warped retelling of Hansel and Gretel, a stylised exploration into the link between gender roles and domestic abuse.

Devised and performed by Ruby Johnston and Benjamin Nichol, Bread Crumbs follows the well-known narrative with a Melbournian twist: a pair of siblings get lost in the forest, Hansel eats all the breadcrumbs his sister leaves behind to guide them home. They try to find their way through the woods, before Gretel tells Hansel that they can never go home.

Cleverly weaving nods to popular fairy tales and Australian colloquialisms along the way, Hansel and Gretel recount stories about their family, their parents’ relationship, and it becomes apparent to the audience that their family life is littered with anger and yelling and more.

There are scenes and lines that cause a bit of laughter at the beginning of the one-hour piece; but as the story goes on, as Gretel finds her Prince Charming 100 years later and their relationship turns toxic, the laughter in response to the tidbits and jokes feels a bit more strained.

It starts to feel like that awkward laugh you do when people tell stories that, when you start to really think about them, aren’t funny at all, but actually serious and damaging.

But stories like those have been told time and time again at gatherings and parties and other occasions. And just like we do with fairy tales, we turn a blind eye to the dark side of those stories, and we laugh, allowing ourselves to be entertained.

Bread Crumbs is a beautiful, uncomfortable and thought-provoking piece, highlighting how domestic violence and misogyny currently exists in our society, and how it shapes and impacts the younger generation.

Bread Crumbs 
Meat Market, Corner of Courtney and Wreckyn Streets, North Melbourne
Till Saturday, 2 December 2017

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