Red Riding Hood review: a scream from start to finish
An urban wolf, costume changes at the speed of light and enough noise to blow a house down
Date Reviewed: December 16th, 2016
Despite its source in fairytale, this pantomime is basically a screamathon of astonishing volume, with every shrieked decibel thrilling most of the young audience, for whom participation in live theatre is a rare and wonderful thing. As a herbalist of dubious skill, Ciaran Bermingham provides a flatulent Granny wearing enough fruit, frills and flowers to satisfy Carmen Miranda, while Fionula Linehan as the dog Slobber encourages the juveniles to delight loudly at every outrageous opportunity.
In quieter moments, some glimmer of narrative emerges to reveal Michael Sands as a repentant alchemist seeking a son. He arrives as a woodcutter (Jimmie Brockie), before falling in love with a butterfly. His affection is understandable as Niamh O’Mahony’s Mariposa manages her wings to charming effect, much as Charlotte O’Halloran as Red Riding Hood manages her scarlet cloak. Leather-trousered to his fur-clad shoulders, Keith Hanley is alarmingly predatory as the wolf , somewhat more urban than the other creatures of the enchanted forest. Their dancing and singing appear unrestricted by the speed and variety of the costume changes demanded by Jessica Healy’s design and Catherine Mahon-Buckley’s direction. Nor are they deterred by the occasionally ponderous accompaniment from the band conducted by Anth Kaley or by the apparently shallow set by Olan Wrynn. But cheerful music, a crowded stage, a lot of “look out behind you!” tension and a splintering lighting design by Tim Feehily are just what the target audience wants, and as usual with Cada Productions, they get it.
Ends January 8