There has, however, been a wise tweaking of some of the scary bits in Christopher Hampson's bold, dramatic choreography - here Sophie Martin's wicked Witch refrains from decapitating Hansel's much-clutched teddy, although the poor bear shares her fate. Gasps of horror when she tosses teddy in the oven, but an eruption of spontaneous applause when Hansel does the same to her!
In the interests of keeping the narrative tight and easy to follow, some ensemble episodes have been omitted. But the dream-feast, where waltzing tables laden with goodies whirl in and the Witch seems like a warm, loving and uber-glam Good Fairy, round off the first half on a picturesque high. There's no interval, as such. But a brief break allows Catherine Cassidy (Associate Director Education) to interview a couple of the dancers and introduce principal percussionist Martin Willis who demonstrates a couple of the sound effects used during the Humperdinck score.
The second half then takes us straight to the Witch's cottage where horror is tinged with grotesque humour as Sophie Martin morphs from elegance to comically ungainly hag - a very different side to her talents! Constance Devernay (Gretel) is a splendid bossy-boots, forever on Hansel's case. Jamiel Laurence is impulsiveness in short trousers: dangerously greedy for cake, determined not to let go of teddy - no wonder there's plenty of sibling tussles, where cleverly observed characterisation is woven into some thoroughly fine dance. Full-length or "wee" version, Hampson's Hansel and Gretel is a very more-ish treat.