Once in a while, there is nothing more pleasurable than feeling like a child again. This musical production of Red Riding Hood, written by Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary, currently playing at the Pleasance Theatre, makes even the most serious of adults laugh and smile like children again. While it is a musical dedicated to a very young audience, everyone can enjoy this light and entertaining tale of Little Red Riding Hood. There are hilarious jokes that children will not understand, and there are silly ones that adults do not like laughing to. There is literally something for everyone to laugh about.
While the story is slightly different from the original tale, the main parts are kept alive. There is still a wolf, and a little girl with a red cape, and a grandmother, but how the three relate is not quite how one would think. Even though there is more effort put into creating a cohesive storyline as to why Red Riding Hood goes to see her grandmother, it is nevertheless a very simplistic and straightforward plot. There is a new character in this production; a boy named William the Woodcutter, played by Matthew Jay-Ryan. William brings a nice addition to the story and is a necessary component to making the musical tie together. He is playful and funny, and it does not feel as though this character is out of place.
While it can be difficult to add music to a story that usually does not have any, here it is done successfully. There are not too many songs, and the songs add to the playful and fun sentiment of the performance. Paired with the choreographies, the songs make everything even more cheerful. The voices of the actors are powerful enough to be heard, but they do not overpower the music. They blend together well.
The costume and set design leave no room for imagination because everything is as it should be on stage. That does not make it a bad thing. The audience is able to enter Red Riding Hood’s world without having to visualize the forest or the cape. Because it caters to a young audience as well, this is deliberately done to entertain everyone. It should be mentioned that the costumes and set are enchanting. They really make the spectators feel as though they dove into the storybook of Little Red Riding Hood.
One could say that Red Riding Hood fits too much the mold of a musical production, but one needs to remember that many of the spectators are children. In this sense, Red Riding Hood is a delightful way to enjoy the theatre and to enjoy returning to one’s more youthful times. Be sure to check it out before it ends January 3rd!