Fairytale ballet Hansel & Gretel is a real sweet treat; Lesley Oldfield enjoys Scottish Ballet's Hansel and Gretel at Newcastle's Theatre Royal.
That's when the sublimely elegant, graceful and mysterious lady in white is transformed into an itchity, scratchity, jumpy, jerky and funny old witch.
It happens when she comes in, disposes of her hairdo, puts on an old cardigan and greets two hungry children. I know just how she feels!
The traditional Grimm fairytale has been given a few tweaks in Scottish Ballet's production after the company's new director asked children for their interpretations of the story.
So, rather than being abandoned by a wicked stepmother, these two youngsters simply decide to run off and have an adventure, leaving their parents asleep on the sofa.
The ballet opens with a teacher reading to her pupils and casting a spell on them with the power of the story - just as the company set out to enthral their audience.
And a full orchestra accompanies the dancers, playing the score by Engelbert Humperdinck.
No, not that one the 19th Century German composer whose name a young Arnold Dorsey decided to adopt. Came as a surprise to me, too.
The music is gentle and melodic rather than full of drama, but there's certainly enough drama on stage as our young explorers get lost, trapped, and almost cooked for tea.
The show toured Scotland at Christmas time and it has an appropriately magical, sparkly feel once Hansel and Gretel's parents are out of the picture.
After a playful early scene between the home-alone brother and sister, dowdy Mum shows up exhausted after work, a fag on her lip, while beered-up Dad dances home with his mates, in a great section, before falling asleep. Mmm, perhaps that's why the kids leave home!
As befitting a fairytale, there are a few lessons to be learned, not least the power of sugar to entrance.
Spells are cast with a sprinkling of glitter. But as Hansel and Gretel gorge themselves on a banquet of cakes and puddings, they are sprinkled with icing sugar. And sunk.
Hansel and Gretel do sterling work but the witch, danced by Luciana Ravizzi, is undoubtedly the star of the show.
And when in a dream sequence Mum, Eve Mutso, becomes a perfect tippy-toed pink prima ballerina, pirouetting en pointe, her fluid and graceful movements are breathtaking.
Apart from a couple of cumbersome set rotations, the woodland setting is enchanting, and I was relieved when the curtain finally rose, three dances into the second act, to reveal a luminous backdrop of lollies and lemon drops.
I must mention the ravens, who give the illusion of flight as they peck up that ill-fated trail of biscuits.
And the rag dolls, who manage to flop as they leap, are amazing.
A huge pat on the back too for the North East youngsters who play enchanted children, enchantingly, at the beginning and rather sudden end.
Hansel and Gretel is at the Theatre Royal until Saturday. To book see www.theatreroyal.co.uk or call 08448 112121.