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Red Riding Hood review at the Pleasance Theatre, London – ‘exciting’

Matthew Barrow in Red Riding Hood at the Pleasance Theatre, London. Photo: Garry Lake Matthew Barrow in Red Riding Hood at the Pleasance Theatre, London. Photo: Garry Lake
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Writing duo Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary have been gradually making their mark on the musical theatre scene with smaller pieces such as Jet, Set, Go! and The Great British Soap Opera. Earlier this year, they gained greater attention with their adaptation of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole at Curve Theatre in Leicester. Receiving its UK premiere here, Red Riding Hood is a thoughtful, and frankly exciting, adaptation of the popular children’s story.

It’s not simply the story that’s exciting, although Brunger’s book opens up the thin narrative to create a host of sharp ideas and characters. What is exciting is that Red Riding Hood is a perfectly formed, well-rounded piece of musical theatre for young people. It doesn’t make any concessions to the age of its intended audience, but offers a commendable introduction to the authors.

Kate Golledge directs with a lightness of touch and Simon Wells’ patchwork and origami inspired set further complements the freshness of the writing. The energy of this small but talented company seems boundless from Nazarene Williams’ up-beat, sensible Little Red to Matthew Barrow’s eerily camp Wolf. Take children if you can, but if not, go simply to catch some new and rather exciting musical theatre.

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Verdict
An exciting, thoughtful musical adaptation featuring a talented and committed company
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