Oh but it's a family affair, this new take on Hansel and Gretel, the children who are always hungry but nearly become a toasted snack for a ravening witch.

Here, the witch is their aunt, which takes care of wicked Whilemena's striking resemblance to the children's mother (Gayle Telfer Stevens plays them both).

Like all black sheep, however, she's not much talked about in the children's poor but happy home where Grandmother's portrait – with Nikki Auld in the frame, albeit on video – acts as an occasional narrator and guardian angel. Of course, if she'd managed to control Whilemena's evil tendencies when she was a girl, there'd be no need for panics now: not that there are many panics, because it's only half-way through the second act that Hansel and Gretel get a sniff of the Gingerbread House and fall into the witch's clutches. A bit late in the day, really. Less cosy family time, and a stronger sense of menace when Whilemena brings her sweet-stall to town would help build the essential scary factor.

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Yes, it all looks very wintry pretty. The music is a plus, too. Karen Fishwick (sensible, feisty Gretel) and Ben Fitzpatrick (a self-willed, hasty Hansel) keep us interested in what Jonathan Stone's version has in store. But when local children, dressed as wee Gingerbread Men and performing House Of Fun by Madness in every spot-on move, almost steal the show then it's grim, not Grimm.

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