Arts Review: Little Red

Dir.  Natasha Gilmore, Tramway, 11 – 23 December

Tramway’s festive reimagining of the classic fairytale of Little Red Ridinghood through dance theatre doesn’t feature any ‘boys and girls’ or possibilities for traditional panto larks.

The energetic opening scene has the three little Red’s tumbling over the stage, their bodies seemingly defying gravity. The modern, rhythmic chorography feels simultaneously familiar and abstract, which left me staring at the stage in amazement. The three dancers – Jane Adamson, Kai Wen Chuang and Vince Virr (because it’s not just girls who can fall prey to wolves) – depict the fluttering leaves in the forest, the branches, a stream, trails and animals.

Even during their overnight stay in the forest, on the way to grandma, the dance continues: a fascinating play of shadows on the ceiling above the stage. The collaboration between them is beautiful to watch, everything they do is smooth and seems so easy. Throughout the whole show, the dance features an aspect of childlike curiosity, one that leaves you wishish you still had yourself.

A true festive family show is incomplete without some humour, and fortunately Little Red entertains the younger part of the audience (as well as their parents) with some of the most witty and mischievous poo jokes, far less predictable than the usual sort. The wolves that somehow reminded me of Macklemore in ‘Thrift shop’ – including fur coat and hipster glasses – roam over the stage in their motorised cart, winning over everyone’s heart. And the dance of Little Red and her hilarious wolf-grandma to ‘You make me feel so young’ by Frank Sinatra creates a joyful Christmas vibe.

The music is a winning aspect, the use of lighting is ingenious and the set is absolutely marvellous. Think of a light-version of the precariously stacked chairs in the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Little Red made me feel euphoric and emotional at the same time. An enchanting and original show to celebrate the holidays.
[Aike Jansen]

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