7 Dec-6 Jan, Lyric, Hammersmith, London W6 (0181-741 2311)Reuse content
Making a house out of gingerbread - was the wicked witch in Hansel and Gretel some horribly prophetic conflation of Delia Smith and Rachel Whiteread, or what? It's Grimm out west, as the Lyric plans to delight us with an intriguing new production of the classic spooky tale of an enchanted forest and a paedophagic old crone. It's set on a Ukrainian Christmas Day, where the action moves between present-day Kiev, Kiev in 1946, and Worm Wood, the dream world of our two heroic children. Mystery, original music and the delights of a traditional Ukrainian Christmas are all promised. If you're wondering who came up with the lovely idea of sweetening the bitter pill of history with a fairy tale, then know that this scheme was cooked up by Pop-Up, one of the country's most respected children's theatre companies, and Red Shift, a company who do consistently interesting things with classic literature on the stage. Their Crime and Punishment last year was wonderful, and this Hansel and Gretel promises to be a magical alternative to the traditional family panto.