Arden Theater: Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates

Hans Brinker and the boys

Arden Theatre Co.
40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. For tickets, call 215.922.1122.

Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates is the new play at Arden Theater. I love Arden plays but the last one we saw was Beauty and the Beast and it left me wanting so much more. So when I googled Hans Brinker and The Silver Skates and learned it was a novel written in 1865 and was based on 19th-century Dutch life, as well as a tale of youthful honor I was not super siked to check it out. Keep in mind my boys love live theater and I know Arden plays are great but they are still boys ages 6 and 4. I worried it would not be entertaining enough for them which would make the night tough.

I am happy to say my fears were a waste of time and Arden once again delivered. The play was wonderful and any performance that can keep my ice hockey, parkour, minecraft loving boy’s attention is one that everyone should check out.

Hans Brinker stage


The play introduces you to Hans and his little sister Gretal. They are the poor kids in town, their father is sick, and skating is really the only thing they can afford to do. Slowly their lives transform through their ability to swallow their pride, kindness of new and unexpected friends, and a moment on the ice that they will never forget. With Arden plays there is always an unexpected creative twist that I don’t like to reveal. I will say that there is an aerial routine in the show and there is a scene in the second act were this play with 0humble 1865 beginnings has the entire audience cheering, booing, laughing and standing up in their seats (well at least my 4-year-old was). At the end of all Arden plays for children there is a Q and A with the actors. Kids in the audience get to ask questions about the costumes, the actors and anything else they are dying to know. Then the actors move out into the lobby were each cast member is available for pictures with the audience.

Hans Brinker Gretal

After every Arden Theater review I always appeal to families to take their young children even though it can be really intimidating. As a family we try a lot of different things. Seeing Arden plays has become a really amazing tradition for us. As I see them silently watching the show I know that I am giving them a great experience and opening their world. Henry and I saw his first show when he was 2.5 years old. The key for us was going during the day when they have the school trips. Sometimes they will sell tickets during those shows. The school kids are so excited and animated that they are 10 times louder than the boys could be when they were 2 and 3. I always encourage everyone to try it with their kids as soon as possible. Toss some lollipops in your purse and something to do to get you through intermission and I think you will be very surprised at how much they love it and pay attention.