Little Red Riding Hood's Christmas Adventure is warm, knockabout fun
- David Pollock
- 19 December 2017
Nonsense Room Productions bring puppets, songs and a festive spin to the classic fairytale
Most well-known for their adaptation of The Hairy Maclary Show, Nonsense Room Productions are well-represented in Edinburgh this Christmas. Their stage version of Nick Sharratt's Shark in the Park is running in the Spiegeltent on Festival Square, and the company's own seasonal spin on the tale of Little Red Riding Hood enjoys a short run on the opposite side of town at the Assembly Roxy.
The latter tells us of young Scarlet, who lost her own mother to a wolf in the woods and must now set out across the forest to visit her old grandfather with only some magic spells to protect her. Zoe Halliday is a strong lead as Scarlet, with a warm and inclusive manner that encourages the audience's involvement in singing the song which helps her talk to animals and find secret passages through the trees. Alongside her, Paul Beeson and Gilchrist Muir perform an array of characters – some of them puppets, like Scarlet's best friend, the vertigo-stricken Stanley the Squirrel – with a fierce enthusiasm which sometimes, by the nature of the piece, spills over into madcap panto antics.
In particular, Muir's Walter the Wolf inspires gleeful, booing heckles from the audience as he chases Alice around, on occasion so much so that they even get in the way of his own lines. It's a lot of fun, with simple but evocative design from Gillian Argo and music from Matthew Brown, while Simon Beattie's script includes a seasonal surprise at the end and an easy accessibility for very small children.
Older kids and adults, however, may be able to see the joins. The show is held together by the warm and compelling look and feel of a lovely Christmas play, but occasionally it allows loose, knockabout pantomime fun to take the place of strong storytelling.
Little Red Riding Hood's Christmas Adventure, Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh, until Sat 23 Dec.