If you are looking for something different in a panto, look no further than this fantastic inventive and original show telling the story of Red Riding Hood. We all know the story of Red Riding Hood who went to visit her grandma and found the wolf in her grandma’s bed. Or do we? Directed by Lucy Cuthbertson and written by Kerry Frampton and Ben Hales, the show is a breath of fresh air to the traditional seasons offerings.
The show opens at the small town of Stanton On The Briar with the residents singing ‘I love this town’. I smirked to myself here as all people of Milton Keynes who grew up here call us a city rather than a town, but this is only for Stanton On The Briar so let’s go with it. Residents are excited in the town as today is the 25th annual parade where a girl is chosen from the town to be the protector of the town. Scarlett is chosen and she is rather reluctant to do the job. After all no one has seen a wolf for years, although residents never venture into the deep dark forest. The woodcutter is now Mayor of the village and bestows the red cape onto Scarlett.
Victor Von Crepe is a wolf in disguise. He has a hat to hide his huge ears, however he is still very angry that his dad was villainised and murdered which meant he and his mum were thrown out of his village. He wants to visit Stanton On The Briar to get his revenge on the woodcutter. He is cunning and has an evil plan which he has wrote down so he can keep to it. But what is the real story of what happened 25 years ago? Are all wolves evil? Who is the white wolf that has been seen in the deep dark forest near to grandma’s house? Is there a second side to this story?
Claire Burns plays Scarlett and she is perfect in the role as a reluctant teenager who steps up to the plate when really needed. Claire gives Scarlett attitude and a bit of sass. Mrs Forgetmenot is the panto dame and teacher in the town. She is rather forgetful. Played by Rikki Chamberlain, Mrs Forgetmenot is a welcome relief from the all the serious talk of wolves. You can’t trust the wolves has become the motto of the town thanks to the Mayor. Tom Whitelock is Mayor Woodwood and is proud of his town and how safe it from wolves. Tom portrays Mayor Woodwood as kind and a good person who really cares about the safety of his residents. Kerry Frampton is Victor Von Crepe and she is just marvellous in the role. She interacts with the audience and can be quite scary at times. She has an accent that you can’t quite place, perhaps eastern Europe? But maybe that’s what wolves sound like when they talk. Who really knows? All the cast are fantastic and tell the story well. I have seen many pantomimes during the festive season but this will remain one of my favourites. This is a fantastic show with an original script, quality acting and an enjoyment that takes panto to a new level. Don't be fooled by all the glitz of the big named pantos. It’s not about money to put on a great performance. If you want to see something genuinely inspiring, go and see this.
Red Riding Hood Versus The Wolf is playing at Stantonbury Theatre until 31 December 2018. http://www.stantonburytheatre.co.uk/whats-on/all-shows/red-riding-hood-versus-the-wolf/12299/