Little Red

Kevin Dyer
Eastern Angles & Theatre Porto
Sir John Mills Theatre, Ipswich

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Fatima Jawara as Little Red Credit: Mike Kwasniak
Bronte Tadman as Grandma Credit: Mike Kwasniak
Cast of Little Red Credit: Mike Kwasniak

Little Red is a delightful, whimsical and gently humorous retelling of the Red Riding Hood fable aimed full-square at a family audience.

For the first time, Eastern Angles has moved away completely from its usual Christmas spoof—part-pantomime, part-parody—and decided to concentrate on producing a show very much aimed at children and their relatives. So this is something you could take any child to from five years and up plus their granny and maiden aunt and nobody would be offended.

Written and directed by Kevin Dyer, this piece was first performed by Theatre Porto in the North West and EA has kept many of the creative ideas by original director Nona Hajiyianni and all the music by Patrick Dineen in this production.

Firmly rooted in the original fable, four actors play out the story in a number of guises on a set that is a flexible space of moving trees and additional props when needed. Fatima Jawara is the titular character, a very engaging and quite modern Little Red, determined to assert her independence over her woodcutter mother (Anoush Kendrick) and take a pie to her grandmother living deep in the forest, portrayed with a lot of humour and sass by Bronte Tadman.

Pursuing her is Harvey Robinson’s crafty, clever and very hungry big bad wolf. Mr Wolfie is a slippery, banjo-playing king of the forest who can be a bit threatening but underneath is really just another lost soul looking for his next meal. Or so he would like us to believe!

The versatile cast play a number of other characters Little Red meets on her journey including various animals, the wolf pack itself and other storybook characters, until she finally gets to the cottage to confront Mr Wolfie himself.

There’s music and song, a howling competition for the audience to participate in and plenty going on to keep even the most fidgety child entertained. And it’s quite compact—just about an hour and a half with the interval.

This is a lovely, inoffensive show that can be enjoyed by all ages but it's especially directed towards children and their families. A welcome change from some of the more adult fare that seems to be increasingly offered up by the traditional pantos.

Reviewer: Suzanne Hawkes

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