Hansel and Gretel: After Ever After
David Walliams’s After Ever After series picks up where the classic fairy tales left off, creating fun scenarios of what might have happened after “the end”. The series, which began with Cinderella and then Jack and the Beanstalk, is now reprising the story of Hansel and Gretel. Part of Sky One’s Christmas programme, the short original film combines moral messages and amusing references to current topics, making it an ideal entertainment option for the whole family.
The show begins with the titular siblings (Bill Bekele and Lily Aspell) returning home after escaping the witch’s candy house. Their father (Mark Addy) and stepmother (Sophie Thompson) are less than thrilled to have them back. Things get worse when the town decides to celebrate the death of the evil witch (Sheridan Smith), and it transpires that she may still be able to get her revenge after all. The children set themselves the mission of saving the town, and end up having an interesting encounter with a troll (David Walliams) along the way.
The main focus is on the baddies, who are shown to have multifaceted personalities. Their softer sides emerge thanks to Gretel’s kindness and her ability to see past their scary demeanours. The lesson is to refrain from judging others based on assumptions or appearance, but also to face one’s fears and do the right thing in spite of challenges.
The make-up, sets and costumes play a big part in forming a convincing frame that holds the story up, with Walliams and Smith almost unrecognisable in their evil guises. Hansel and Gretel plays it safe but it delivers what it promises. This is not intended to be a masterpiece, but it will likely serve its purpose, as the previous episodes have, of amusing many a family gathered together during the festive period.