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Little Red Riding Hood – dlr Mill Theatre, Dublin

Reviewer: Rachel Rafferty

Written by: Geoff O’Keefe

Directed by: Geoff O’Keefe

The Mill theatre’s Christmas panto this year is well worth a visit. Packed full of laughs, music, song, and dance, this is fun for all the family. With a duration of just one hour, it is ideally suited to the younger child with a shorter attention span. For this reviewer and her young guest, this was a fast paced and very enjoyable hour that flew by.

The cozy auditorium has great acoustics and was packed full of youngsters of all ages when we visited. We loved the tantalising set design vibrant with pinks and purples. It was a moveable feast so that it easily morphed from the woodland into Granny Hood’s kitchen.

This show embraces both the modern and the traditional. Rap music, dance and contemporary razer-sharp repartee make it relatable to the very young. Yet, the well written script abounds with the trade-mark lingo of the classic panto with lots of, ‘Oh no, you won’t’, and much interaction between the children and the performers.

This is a funny re-working of the much-loved fairy tale with interesting twists and great characters. Red Riding Hood is walking through the woods to bring her granny a basketful of treats but on her way, she has some strange encounters, including meeting a magical unicorn (Annaliesa Evans) and more worryingly, the Big Bad Wolf (Matthew O’Brien) and his daughter (Karen Kelly). Aoife Morgan’s Red Riding Hood was an impressive performance. Encased in sumptuous red satin she expertly got the kids attention, enticing them into the story. As a funnily acerbic duo, Wolf and daughter were the perfect foils for the innocent Red. Meanwhile Bo Peep (Evelyn Shaw) is visiting Granny Hood hilariously played by Garry Mountaine who is juggling between trying to have her oven fixed by Woody (Ruairi Leneghan), while also on a man hunt for a new beau. Her pursuits include some very comical interaction with the audience.

Brilliantly choregraphed and performed, the witty dialogue is replete with wittily funny jokes and the shorthand and contemporary slang that has saturated our lexicon. My guest, Aria (6) says she loved it all, but she especially loved the way the cast came into the audience area, making all the children even more excited. Although she liked all the characters in the show, Aria’s favourite and the one who made her laugh the most was without doubt, Granny Hood!

This was ensemble acting at its best, with virtuosity and flair. Costumes were bright and colourful. Geoff O’Keefe’s skilled direction was evident in the smooth performances and perfectly co-ordinated dance and movements. My advice for this Christmas is to forego the big shows. Instead, take your kids off to the Mill in the Dundrum town centre and treat them to this rare extravaganza.

A feast of fun!

Runs until 8th January 2023

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The Reviews Hub - Ireland

The Ireland team is currently under the editorship of Laura Marriott. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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