Review: Enjoyable twist on Red Riding Hood on Coventry stage

Charlotte Croft as Robyn
Charlotte Croft as Robyn

Nick Le Mesurier reviews Red Riding Hood and the Wolf at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Red Riding Hood and the Wolf is one-woman performance in which the scruffy old toys in Robyn’s bedroom come to life.

It’s time for Robyn to go to bed. But she doesn’t want to. She’d rather read. She picks up an old book of fairy stories and opens it at the famous story of Miss Hood. What she reads doesn’t impress her. Red Riding Hood is altogether too sweet, too good, too unbelievable. So, she makes up another tale. This time little Red is the cunning one, and the wolf is one who has lost his ‘strong’ and has been rejected by the pack. In this upside-down world of inverted morals, Red’s Gran is not so nice either: she waits in bed for the wolf, ready to do him some serious GBH with a baseball bat once he arrives with her lunch. But the real lunch is intended to be Wolf himself. Wolf escapes, only to be confronted by a hunter. Which is when he discovers his true metal, summons the pack, and forgives his oppressors.

There’s a lot going on in this deceptively simple show. For a start there’s a cracking script in rhyming couplets that are so natural they slip past you like a breeze. Then there’s a lovely performance from Charlotte Croft as Robyn, plus an ingenious set in which Robyn turns her bedroom into a forest using just a few hockey sticks and tennis rackets and a couple of old socks. And best of all there are some much loved toys and some bits of bedding that come alive in Charlotte’s hands as puppets.

It’s all delightfully low-tech, and the audience, made up of very young children and their parents, were enthralled.

* The play runs until April, with two shows a day on April 4 and 5. Visit www.belgrade.co.uk to book.