‘Tis the season for Christmas shows and boy, are they all over the place this year. It’s always a good thing to have plenty of choice available to audiences of all ages and this production from No Nonsense Theatre (known for Hairy Maclary & Friends, and Shark in the the Park) ably serves the 3 to 7 year old age group, with a few added jokes and puns for the grown ups.
It’s a typical hero’s (or in this case heroine’s) quest. We follow the protagonist Scarlet as she chooses the path of adventure to find a magical red cloak and her grandfather. Along the way she meets a wolf and hence various comic scenarios and songs ensue. It’s all very familiar and predictable in terms of characters and story format – although both the script and score are original.
Old school style puppets (stuffed toy style) are used to great effect as the talking forest creatures Scarlet befriends. The younger audience members love them, as peels of giggles can be heard emanating from around the auditorium. Another very popular character is that of the big bad wolf, costumed in entertainingly furry attire, complete with large teeth, googly eyes and an amusing west country lilt. He has some very nice moments of audience interaction that add a real sense of engagement to the piece and his ultimate redemption brings the cute moral to the story.
The tunes are arguably not all that catchy. A chorus repeated throughout – to which we are encouraged to sing along – is quite forgettable and several lines long, instead of being very simple and repetitive. This makes it hard for small children (and adults) to remember and so tricky to sing along to. So while the narrative used appears to be a proven formula and an obvious story arc, the musical style is slightly less mainstream in terms of composition. The instrumental backing is very basic and sections with the actor musicians playing live are better.
Little Red Riding Hood’s Christmas Adventure is a charming little show that’s as low budget as the ticket price would suggest. While it’s not one of the festive offerings in the city that’ll blow you away, it does sprinkle a little fairy tale magic and keep the little ones entertained and engaged for the full hour.