First-rate Red Riding Hood by Colaton Raleigh Players
PUBLISHED: 18:30 02 March 2016
A slick, imaginative script provided the platform for youngsters to steal the show in Colaton Raleigh Players’ annual panto.
Directed and written by Patricia Cotton, the story turned the traditional tale of Red Riding Hood on its head. A weight-lifting granny, tom-boy protagonist and harmless wolf joined a host of colourful characters in a tightly written narrative, interwoven with apt musical numbers.
A delightful overture by talented musical director John Davies set the scene as we were transported to the garden of Dame Hattie Hood (Dave Merrifield). The search was on for missing boyish Red Riding Hood, aka Maria (Anya Hawtin), who appeared, true to form, climbing up the well. Anya’s stage presence, projection and singing voice were impressive.
Maria’s love interest Rick was played by Anna Constable, who brought dynamism to the role of dashing hero. With a performance to be proud of, Anna wooed the dungaree-clad heroine who eventually succumbed to Rick’s affections. This pairing was a great piece of casting and the interaction between Maria and Rick was wonderful.
As girly Susan, Chantelle Fry provided a great contrast with Maria. With confident delivery, Chantelle gave a compelling performance.
The baddie came in the form of wild witch Michaela Manning who, with wicked cackle and swishing cape, brought a dastardly dose of villainy.
Magical scenes in the wood and the enchanted glade held the audience spellbound as Fairy Lithesome (Doreen Kociuba) urged the picnickers to drink from the spring to protect themselves from the witch’s powers. Captivating singing by the juniors and some wonderful scenery made this a really poignant moment.
Roguish duo Bert and Basil injected energy and mischief with strong performances by Tracey Salter and Sarah Hitchings – another great pairing.
Alongside hapless Jacko Hood – a great comic characterisation by Christopher Silverthorne – Caroline Scott-Langley was a suitably blundering, simpleton Sam Stickle. This pair of fools, along with the juniors, provided the play’s comic high with the farcical wallpapering scene.
With the support of a cheerful, welcoming front-of-house team, a dedicated behind-the-scenes crew, an enthusiastic chorus, and a script littered with local references, the audience were drawn into the special embrace that only home-grown village panto can create.
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