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Austrian marionette group to perform fairy tales in Hong Kong

     Marionettentheater Schloss Schönbrunn, the winner of the first prize at the 12th International Puppet Festival in Tehran in 2008, will visit Hong Kong in April for three performances.

     Bewitched by the delicate marionettes from Vienna and fairy tales, Marionettentheater Schloss Schönbrunn has mesmerised audiences all over the world. They will perform two musical fairy tales, "Aladdin" and "Hansel and Gretel", in the city.

     "Aladdin" is one of the tales in "One Thousand and One Nights" and tells of a magic lamp containing a genie, who can make all wishes come true. Not everybody can find the lamp - only an innocent and kind-hearted person like Aladdin can. A greedy magician wants to get the lamp and pretends to be Aladdin's long-lost uncle and they search for the magic lamp together. The magician then threatens not to free Aladdin from a cave unless he manages to find the lamp. Luckily, Aladdin's best friend Koko, a parrot, rescues him. On their way home, they meet a beautiful princess, Jasmine. The princess and Aladdin fall in love and want to get married, but her father, a powerful sultan, refuses. In the end, with the help of the genie from the magic lamp, Jasmine and Aladdin get married and live happily ever after.

     "Hansel and Gretel" is a well-known fairy tale of German origin, recorded by the Brothers Grimm. Hansel and Gretel lose their way in a forest in the evening. A sandman appears and makes them fall asleep. While they are asleep, the children are guarded by 14 guardian angels. The next morning, when they continue their way through the forest, they discover a witch's house, which is entirely made of gingerbread. Hansel and Gretel cannot resist temptation and try a bit of the gingerbread. Suddenly the witch appears and casts a spell on them, and traps them like she has done to other children. Gretel is able to trick the old witch, who ends up in an oven and is turned into gingerbread herself. When the spell is broken, all children who had been turned into gingerbread by the wicked witch become free again and happily return to their parents.

     The experienced marionette players Christine Hierzer and Werner Hierzer founded the touring theatre company in 1991. The company moved into Schönbrunn Palace in 1994 and the palace became a permanent venue for holding the company's year-round performances. The company was renamed as Marionettentheater Schloss Schönbrunn. In 1995, they set up a training centre for talented marionette players in Schönbrunn. The company has performed in many cities and won critical acclaim, and has won praise as "Cultural Ambassadors" of Vienna.

     "Aladdin and Hansel and Gretel" is one of the programmes in the Family Fun series presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. It will be held at 8pm on April 20 and 21 (Friday and Saturday) and at 3pm on April 21 (Saturday) at the Theatre, Hong Kong City Hall. Tickets priced at $160 and $200 are now available at URBTIX outlets, on the Internet and by credit card telephone booking. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and their minders, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients (limited tickets for CSSA recipients available on a first-come, first-served basis). A maximum discount of 20 per cent is offered for the Family Fun series and group booking packages.

     Apart from the performances, there will also be a marionette workshop, with tickets priced at $50 and conducted in English with Cantonese interpretation, to be held at 4pm on April 22 (Sunday) at the Cultural Activities Hall, Tsuen Wan Town Hall. Patrons will learn about how marionettes are produced and moved, and then will see a short performance, "Humorous Duet for Two Cats", by Gioachino Rossini. Participants will also have the chance to try operating the delicate marionettes.

     For enquiries regarding the programme and the workshop, please call 2268 7323 or visit . Ticketing enquiries can be made on 2734 9009 and credit card telephone bookings on 2111 5999. Tickets can also be booked online at .

     Other programmes in the Family Fun series are "The Firebird" by the International Purves Puppets (UK) and "PSY" by Les 7 Doigts de la Main (Canada).

Ends/Monday, February 27, 2012


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