Red Riding Hood, a pantomime by Peter McDonald. Ickle Pickle Productions at Belconnen Community Centre Theatre December 14-22, 2006, 3pm and 7pm, except Tuesday December 19 11am. Bookings: 6247 1223.
Following last year’s Goldilocks success, director Justin Watson and writer Peter McDonald have conspired to produce the only version of Red Riding Hood to mention the corrupt failed company Enron which, news reports said, “lied about its profits and stands accused of a range of shady dealings, including concealing debts so they didn't show up in the company's accounts”.
But don’t worry, this is just a pantomime in the long tradition of humorous social commentary. Even the younger audience members followed a very twisted plot in which Granny and the Wolf are business rivals. They quickly learned when and how to call for the Good Fairy of Marketing, played nicely by Josie Dunham as a quite daffy character who finally brings a new cookie-making cooperative into being and marries off Granny Hood (Dave Smith as the panto dame) to Wolf Jackman (Peter Rousell) who baulks at wearing Granny’s skirt and shawl because he is a male wolf (while she gets hot under the collar in his oven).
Red Riding Hood (Kat Brand) marries Martin from Accounts (Anna O’Leary), the 3 evil robotic blind mice (well-played mechanically by Grace Connelly, Rebecca de Costa and Clare Sheehan) are properly defeated by management consultants Michael Mouse (Jennifer Maclean), Stuart Mouse (Erin Cassidy) and Gerald Mouse (Irena Reedy). While Wolf’s offsider Crookwell, played strongly by Jaime Isfahani, is left rather lonely, except that Santa appears to make everyone happy in the end.
You’ll have to see the show to appreciate McDonald’s Terry Pratchett-like mind, with any number of musical references and bits of other fairy stories built in. It’s just as much fun for the adults as the children.
Directing, choreography and an intriguingly simple set change device all show the skills which we have come to expect from Ickle Pickle, resulting in excellent performances from all the young actors in an engaging production.
© Frank McKone M.A., F.A.C.E.
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