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Little Red Riding Hood

Date

9th January 2016

Society

Perryway Players & Livewire Amateur Dramatic Society

Venue

Cadbury Hall, Frampton on Severn

Type of Production

Pantomime

Director

Jessica Grace Weaver & Rhys Maule

Musical Director

Jessica Grace Weaver

Choreographer

Jessica Grace Weaver & Rhys Maule

Report

Author: Frankie Telford

This was the first time I had attended a Pantomime with this group and did not know what to expect. As I entered the Hall there was a buzz of anticipation, which had clearly not been dampened by the heavy rain outside. The incredible amount of publicity, with which you had bombarded the district, (I saw Red Riding Hood everywhere I went) had obviously paid off, as it appeared to be a full house.

This was a modernised version of Red Riding Hood but it had a very traditional feel to it; there were plenty of panto elements with colourful costumes, audience participation, corny jokes and a good combination of children’s humour, adult humour, singing and dancing. It introduced the characters of Dr Jekyl (alias Mr Hyde), Frank and Stein, Countess Bloodlust, Count Toothree and Professor Lupus (the wolf), who had set up a museum in the village, which Red Riding Hood and her friends were attracted to, but forbidden to visit.

The initial set was the village square depicting local shops, which was extremely well painted and brought the Pantomime to the heart of the community. The other sets were of a high standard, with the set for the ‘museum’ suitably sinister. The lighting had been well designed, was very effective, well cued and operated, with good contrasts for indoors and outside. The sound effects were also well cued. The costumes were colourful, in keeping with the Pantomime and helped the actors with their characters, with the children in the audience eagerly awaiting each appearance of Granny Smith, to see what she would wear next. The make-up team had produced some good effects, particularly with the ‘museum’ characters and were kept busy changing ‘Zombies’ back to villagers.

The pantomime had a delightful opening with a young soloist singing the first part of ‘Who Will Buy?’ and the stage gradually filling with the young chorus, who all joined in as they entered. This was a Pantomime, which involved the whole community giving opportunity for young people to be involved, and so develop their stage skills, working along side more experienced performers.  Granny Smith made sure the audience were well engaged and ready to join in with responses.  Although there were one or two heckles which were handled well by the cast. The whole cast had worked hard to develop their characters within the limitations of their experience. There were one or two who stood out, perhaps because of the way the role had been written. As I have said Granny Smith worked the audience and kept the story moving. Dr Jekyl and Professor Lupus were very strong. They had the additional challenge of showing two sides to their character; they both had excellent diction and projection. Penelope interacted well with the Squire, her father, and Jack the Woodcutter, who was her unsuitable ‘love interest’; their duet was well sung. The ‘darker’ characters in the ‘museum’ worked well together, all obviously enjoying their roles, with Frank and Stein offering one comedy duo. Mrs Ruby Red tried hard to keep her daughter Red safe, but she and he friends Amber, Sapphire and Jade all knew better and ended up in a few scrapes. Mystic Peg was suitably mysterious as the fortune-teller. Youngsters Smash and Grab providing the second comedy duo, which the children in the audience enjoyed. The entire young chorus sang and danced well, with lots of energy and enthusiasm.

The music was recorded and everyone kept in time both in dancing and singing. The songs had been well chosen and sung. The choreography had been devised to suit the ability of the performers; I liked the ‘zombie’ dance. The only real criticism I have is that it was too long for a Pantomime and there were a few places where pace was lost due to slow take up of cues and slow entrances

The efforts of Jessica Grace Weaver and Rhys Maule shone through in this Pantomime, making sure that all departments both onstage and off, had worked together to produce a good family pantomime that audiences enjoyed. Congratulations everyone.