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Little Red Riding Hood Retold

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Alexander Residence: Little Red Riding Hood Retold

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Little Red Riding Hood Retold

 Little red riding hood set out into the deep dark forest to Grandma's house.
She had filled her basket with things for Grandma.

 She wore the red cloak her Grandma had made for her.
She promised her mother she would stick to the path and not talk to strangers
But then the wolf appeared
 He wanted to be her friend, he could show her a short cut through the deep dark forest.
When Little red riding Hood #1 and #2 got to Grandma's house, Grandma was no where to be found, so they tidied her dressing table.

 And played dressing up with the clothes in her wardrobe
 And wished they had a bedspread as lovely as Grandma's
 And fiddled around in her treasure boxes.
 And arranged some beautiful flowers. Until...
The wolf appeared...quick run!
These photos were taken in the current installation at Nottingham Lakeside arts centre.  It was created by local school children, with an arts facilitator, to complement the current production of Little Red Riding Hood, by Oliver award winning writer Mike Kenny. 

Theatre Review

Kenny has done a fantastic job of reinterpreting the classic fairy story.  A girl and her brother stay over at their grandmother's house, and using their imaginations, props they find in their grandmother's spare room and some doughnuts they steal from downstairs, they bring the story bursting to life.

At first I was wondering if the story was just too dark, the bedroom setting too claustrophobic. Would this be too terrifying for the group of 5 year olds I went with, would it give them nightmares? I was proved completely wrong.  The adaptation plays with children's fears, whilst breaking the tension in exactly the right places.  I don't think I have ever seen such imaginative and hilarious theatrical tension releases, absolute genius.

What's magical is the way the adaptation explores children's play and storytelling using the concepts of dressing up, role play and object play. There are just two actors, who play the children, both of whom completely captured the irresistible energy and enthusiasm of children.  These two child characters, and their toys, then play the characters from Little Red Riding Hood, which perfectly diffuses the fear factor.  

The set is beautiful, and coupled with the lighting it creates some breathtaking festive magic.  The singing is spine tingling, not surprising given the music was composed by Charlie and Lola's Julian Butler.

Combined with a cup of tea and a cake in the cafe, and an hour spent playing and exploring the installation, this is an absolute must do 'experience'. The children I went with absolutely loved retelling and reinterpreting the story afterwards. They even tidied up Grandma's house afterwards, without being asked, they were so impressed by the whole afternoon.   

Little Red Riding Hood runs til 31st Dec.  Age 4+, although my 3yo was also spellbound.  Knocks the socks off pantomime.  And made me want to be Drama teacher again, so badly...

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At 14 December 2011 at 10:49 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing like a traditional fairy tale to get the kids enthralled and Mum's nostalgic warm blood flowing around the body...memories of childhood, relived perhaps?


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