Into the Woods, Leicester Haymarket (0116-253 9797)

The original Broadway production of Sondheim's bewitching fairy-tale musical was sickly sweet and a huge hit. The stunningly good London production had acres of wit, panache, a tremendous set, a dynamite cast - Imelda Staunton, Ian Bartholomew and Julia McKenzie - but inexplicably failed at the box office. Fortunately, Leicester has come to the rescue with a new production of this dark and dazzling show which weaves familiar tales into something fanciful and frightening. Just when you think you know what's going to happen, Sondheim and librettist James Lapine throw yet another surprise at you. The first half seems like a fun frolic as everyone's dreams come true, but then they discover that life isn't always a case of happy ever after. The excellent ensemble cast is led by Kathryn Evans as the scheming witch.