Nick Le Mesurier reviews Red Riding Hood at the Talisman Theatre in Kenilworth
Pantomime, which has ancient roots, is all about subversion.
In this topical tale the tables are turned on the wicked Baroness de Brexit (Amanda Dodd) who wants to destroy the village of Fermley on the Fiddle to make way for HS2-and-a-bit.
But first she has to flatten the houses of the three little pigs (Amy Jolliffe, Lauren McCann, Dexter Robinson).
To get her way she must recruit the help of a dupe, in this case Lionel Lupin (Michael Brooks), by poisoning him with Article 50, a potion so powerful it can turn anyone into the animal they fear most.
Will she do it? Not with the help of her hapless servant Dull (Geoff Barker-Mountford), nor with the fabulously florid Florence Farquharson (Kenny Robinson), the ravishing Red (Nikki Cross) and her perfect partner Peter (Ashley Clifford), nor the plodding PC Billy (Des McCann) and the terribly tongue-tied Timmy (Harry Bowser) against her.
Nor indeed the audience, who played their part with gusto, children and adults alike shouting encouragement to poor Timmy whenever he lost his nerve before his beloved Bo Peep (Katie Siggs), and letting the perverted politician know exactly where she stood. The applause at the end was some of the loudest I’ve ever heard.
And so it should be, for there were jokes and laughter, dancing and singing galore. The Baroness clearly relished her conniving character, and busty Flo was well into her cups throughout. But do you know who made it for me: the three little pigs, who were just gorgeous.
Happy Christmas everyone!
* Red Riding Hood runs until New Year’s Eve. Call 856548 to book.