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Theatre Review: Red Riding Hood at Nottingham Lakeside Arts' Djanogly Theatre

17 December 18 words: Adrian Reynolds

We took a little person to Nottingham Lakeside Arts' Djanogly Theatre to check out Red Riding Hood...

Martha was very concerned about whether she’d see the performance, all the way to the rear of the seats. Martha is almost seven, and as a young person who is often in a world of much larger ones, these issues come up pretty often. But the Red Riding Hood set was perfectly visible for her, and she relaxed and enjoyed the birdsong and forest noises that set the scene before the story started.

Once upon a time, there were two children, and they were brother and sister. Brigit and Stephen were their names, and they lounged on a bed in a rickety house in the woods where the moon hung high and yellow in the sky.

As they lay there, they told stories. In particular, they told the story of Red Riding Hood, using the toys and objects around them to bring it to life for each other, and the audience. That way, we get to know about Red, her gran and the wolf through the ways that the brother and sister talk and play, and though that could come across tricky in practice it’s charming and inventive thanks to Mike Kenny’s script.

There’s music too, songs written by Julian Butler, who also does that job for Charlie and Lola. Martha liked them, and so did I. Annie Kirkman sang really well, and so did her “brother”, Adam Ryan. There was good use of the space for those musical interludes, as well as more generally. When you’re dealing not just with stories, but stories within stories, being clear about what’s what is important. Director Matt Aston would have had a lot to do with that, as well as much else to do with this delightful production.

Here's what Martha thought: “Ioved the songs and the dancing. The wolf bits weren’t scary. I only held mum’s hand once. It was really funny, especially how they used donuts.” The show began life at Lakeside seven years ago. I didn’t see it then, but it was great seeing it this time round. If you know a five-year old or 75-year old who could do with a bit of warmth, joy and humour in these cold winter days, take them along.

Red Riding Hood is at Djanogly Theatre, Nottingham Lakeside Arts to Sunday 30 December 2018.

Nottingham Lakeside Arts website

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