North WestReview

Red Riding Hood and the Wolf – Home, Manchester

Writer: Jon Barton

Director: Jimmy Grimes

Reviewer: Matthew Forrest

It seems all the rage these days to take a popular and cherished story or fable and turn it on its head. It proved so popular with The Wizard of Oz and Wicked. It was inevitable that other stories would get this daring and ambitious makeover. However, it’s a brave person to take on the Wolf from Little Red Riding Hood and make him the hero of the story…He ate Grandma and tried to dine on Little Red Riding Hood, after all, there can be nothing redeemable about that can there?

However what if Red Riding Hood wasn’t quite as innocent as it appears and Grandma was a psychotic taxidermist and the Wolf…he was just lost and looking for his family. That’s the premise behind the Little Angels Theatre Company’s latest production: Red Riding Hood and the Wolf

We are introduced to Robyn (Charlotte Croft) a little girl with an overactive imagination, like so many little ones she wants to read one last bedtime story: her favourite Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. Using toys and props from her bedroom, Robyn begins to recreate this classic tale, only this time the wolf is a timid and kindly soul who has lost his pack and his howl. He meets a seemingly sweet little girl in the forest who agrees to help him if he’ll go to Grannies house and drop off food and supplies. But really Red Riding Hood has designs on a tasty wolf stew.

This is an entertaining, fun production. Charlotte Croft is fantastic as our guide on this journey, very expressive and full of energy, without being over the top or annoying which is a problem that can blight some productions of this nature. Her props and the puppets she uses are fantastic, nothing flash, just objects you’d find in any child’s bedroom, but Croft brings them to life in an engaging and captivating way. I guarantee most youngsters will want a wolf cuddly toy off Father Christmas after seeing this.

The script is fun and witty if a little ‘wordy’ and it could do with a little more ‘oomph’ in order to fully engage younger audience members. However, top marks to Jon Barton for putting a unique and refreshing twist on a classic tale. There are also messages of tolerance and understanding that all of us young and old alike could do with reminding of from time to time.

If you fancy a family show that is suitable for ages 6 and upwards that is fun, entertaining and has a strong message that is more measured and sedate in comparison to some festive shows then this is the perfect show for you… be warned a visit to Granny may never be quite the same again!

Runs at Home until the 30th December | Image: Ellie Kurtz

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The North West team is under the editorship of John McRoberts. 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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