Little Red Riding Hood
St Andrew Square Spiegeltent, Edinburgh
Star rating: * * * *
At its heart, it’s a clever, funny, well-written musical that dreams of a big stage and an even bigger budget. But there’s only so much you can do in a Spiegeltent, with four performers taking on numerous roles and singing along to a pre-recorded score.
Despite these minor drawbacks, this new version of Little Red Riding Hood has a lot going for it. Rewritten by company founder Simon Beattie, the story now has an altogether more pleasing framework. The wolf, an out-and-out-baddie in most versions, is now the victim of a curse who would far rather be our young heroine’s friend than foe.
A feisty teenager yearning for a life less ordinary, Scarlet is summoned to her grandmother’s house in the forest, to take over her role as keeper of the magic. When the grandmother’s enchantments begin to wane, and Scarlet’s have yet to arrive, woodland life gets a little tricky.
Tiny tots may struggle to keep up with this new narrative, but there’s more than enough to enjoy in the songs and madcap action. And grown-ups can chortle at Stanley the Squirrel, who appears to have relocated here from the Bronx.
With a nod to Disney films Tangled (Scarlet can’t wait for her life to begin) and Finding Nemo (her woodcutter father is over-protective since the death of Scarlet’s mother), this Little Red Riding Hood has a pep and freshness that could go far.