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Home arrow Archive: EdFringe 2013 arrow Red Riding Hood
Red Riding Hood
Published on Thursday, 08 August 2013

4 stars

Greenside (venue website)
5-10, 12-17, 19-24 Aug, 10:00pm-10:50pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Recommended for age 16+ only.

This show was a blood-splattered gothic melodrama, full of twists and turns, that left the audience gasping with horror and laughing out of disbelief. I had a completely wonderful time – but even 24 hours later, can’t figure out if this was a deliberately over-the-top camp classic, or a piece of theatre that was just so bad it was great.

Think you know the story of Red Riding Hood? This story laughs at the idea you might have any inkling where they are going next, as we racket through two grisly birth scenes, a lot of sexual coercion, father-daughter incest, a shrieking audience member being licked by a wolf and performances so overblown that the front row were in danger of getting spinal damage. It was like a terrible daytime soap opera, stuck on fast-forward and set in a forest. There was nothing enchanting about this fairy tale.

But some of the visual images were quite stunning, especially the design of the main characters and their ethereal costumes. All three members of the cast were energetic, disturbing presences, most notably Leanne Joyce as No. 2 – a woman the wolf had kidnapped, brainwashed and maybe (I wasn’t sure) hypnotized. However, some scenes when she talks to herself were quite terrible, and may not have been meant to be so hilariously awful. But this just added to her broken appeal, and I felt genuinely quite scared when she came amongst the audience.

More generally, in fact, this is not a comfortable show. For example, you might try to reassure yourself that when the Big Bad Wolf finds Red’s locket – thereby realising that she’s his long-lost daughter – he will surely call off their wedding.  You might want to think again.

I enjoyed the whole thing as a camp classic. It felt like the audience should be shouting out their own well-worn lines at certain places, and that makes it hard to review, because it really is impossible to tell whether that was the company’s intention. Perhaps, if it was, then it could have been delivered with more of a deliberate wink – so we knew we were laughing with them – though I did quite like the way it was played straight (insofar as anything in the show could be described as ‘straight’).  Anyhow, the bottom line: as a slice of ludicrous gothic camp, I loved it.

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