Review: My First Panto - Little Red Riding Hood, The Garage, Norwich
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Eve Stebbing is captivated by a panto specially aimed at under-sixes and their families.
After their hit with Cinderella last year, All In Productions is back with Little Red Riding Hood – a show aimed at the whole family, but especially those under six.
Right from the start, the audience is invited to take the stage. Pencils come out on entry, and many tiny hands get to work colouring the flowers painted on the woodland set. Red Riding Hood sits in the centre, sleeping. Everyone tip-toes around, trying not to wake her.
What was wonderful last year was the seamless mixture of storytelling and music, and it's no different this time. The three performers sing as much as they speak. Not only are their voices a great balance for each other, but each plays their own instrument as well. Mandolin, accordion and guitar are the perfect accompaniment for the tale.
Last year, children were able to get up and help the Ugly Sisters do their make-up. This time there are many more opportunities to get involved. From bread making to flower picking, and helping Red Riding Hood to find her way, we really get stuck in.
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Lisa Wright is approachable and engaging as Little Red (this production's name for its red hooded heroine). She is a well-known singer-songwriter in her own right, with singles topping the iTunes Chart. Oliver Grant is hilarious as the mum - a proper pantomime dame, and just sinister enough as the wolf to give the fairytale a bit of bite.
But never fear, his big furry ears are not the stuff of nightmares (although the fact that he is really Little Red's long-lost puppy could have been a richer source for comedy if brought into play earlier on).
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I am a bit worried about Granny, however. After she goes in the wardrobe, what happens next? Joanna Brown plays this loveable character in all her apple-cheeked glory. I wouldn't like to see her go in the pot.
No one else, it's true, seems concerned. And it's only when the actors take their bow and leave the stage that there's any sadness.
This yearly Christmas treat is a real addition to the season – don't miss.