‘Little Red: Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?’ is the pantomime to conquer all pantos. It has numerous children’s tales blended by playwrights Kate Willoughby and Rachel Doulton’s into a clever script. The script has the two levels of interpretation, innocence for the kids and a few blue doublé-entendes for the dads.
This Murdoch Theatre Company’s 100-minute (including interval), fast moving show is suitable for children aged 6 to 96. It can be seen for 3 more shows only at the Nexus Theatre, Murdoch University – near car park 3 – on Friday 17th at 7.30, with Saturday 18th having two performances, a matinee at 2.00 pm (meet the characters after this show) and at 7.30 again in the evening.
The sets are colourful, though the backdrops and trees are recycled, they have been spruced up with large leaves. The witch’s house was particularly impressive.
As the music of ‘Peter and the Wolf’ faded, the narrator, dressed in a nightshirt – like Wee Willie Winkie, (12 yrs old Amalie Meneghetti – excellent – the only non-Murdoch performer) introduces us to the local village of Grimm Dark. The Mayor (Nicola Brescianini) told us what a wonderful and exciting town it was to live in, however the locals did not seem to agree.
Into the street wanders Little Red (Cat Perez) with her dim, but brave friend, Peter (Aaron Vanderkley). Little Red is asked by her mother (Meagan Dux) to visit her Grandmother’s (Rhys Hyatt – outstanding, what are you doing after the show Baby?) house in the forest.
Peter and Red follow the Yellow Brick Road and meet hungry Hansel (Rebecca Dilley) and beautiful Gretel (Shannon Rogers); they had just been in the gingerbread house and killed the Witch (Claire Tebbutt) – or had they?
Peter tries to protect Little Red but soon they are lost in the woods. A strange and threatening Woodsman (Kieran Renouf) was never far away. Hiding – dressed as a sheep – is The Wolf (Sean Mackey), who is seeking revenge on Peter.
Can Little Bo Peep (Karen Hansord) find her sheep? Will the three bears, Papa Bear (Launcelot Ronzan), Mama Bear (Abbey McCaughan) and Baby Bear (Tijana Simich) save poor Red? Is Grandma all she seems?
Director Kate Willoughby has gathered several of her friends, all of whom have proved themselves numerous times as first class actors, for her pantomime, however, Panto is another genre and not everyone can make it work. This band of actors were magnificent, they threw themselves into a laissée-faire attitude, enjoyed themselves and the pleasure flowed from the stage to the audience who loved it. Kate has also put in many asides and novel ideas, such as the comical bear family’s walk.
Sean Mackey was amazing as the wolf; even when faced with a front row of rowdy children from hell, he was unfazed. Hansel and Gretel’s rapport was also top notch.
Unfortunately I haven’t a techies list so cannot give credit to the excellent mood lighting and sound. I did learn that the striking poster design was by Mama Bear, Abbey McCaughan.
The stylish costumes were bright and well made, from Hansel and Gretel’s buttercup yellow to the furry wolf.
Plenty of laughs, well-written, well directed and well acted. Well, well well, three holes in the ground. A good winter holiday laugh for ALL of the family. Family tickets available at the door, at a sensible price.