Dance Review: Hansel and Gretel (Theatre Royal)

Scottish Ballet's Hansel and Gretel
Scottish Ballet's Hansel and Gretel

With his first production for Scottish Ballet, director Christopher Hampson has concocted a glittering and fun take on a fairytale classic.

This Hansel and Gretel dispenses with some of the darker tones of the Grim Brothers’ tale, shedding the wicked stepmother and introducing a plot which sees children snatched from their homes by a villain who is part Wicked Witch and part Pied Piper.

But there’s still bite in this version - particularly in the suitably macabre final third set in a blood-smattered gingerbread house where children are caged and dismembered legs are casually tossed into the furnace.

All the main cast members equip themselves admirably, feather-light choreography complimenting the score harvested Magpie-like from a variety of works by 19th century German composer Engelbert Humperdinck.

As Hansel and Gretel, Constant Vigier and Sophie Martin manage to deliver an eminently believable brother and sister pairing - one minute tender and caring, the next teasing and bullying.

There’s no doubting the star of the production though. Eve Mutso’s witch is ever-present in a variety of disguises, from school teacher to femme fatale, before morphing into her scabby true form in front of the audience’s eyes.

Ably assisted by her troupe of bread-gobbling ravens, she’s a baddie who is hypnotically evil to the very end.