A big show squeezed into a tiny theatre, Liverpool Actors Studio proves itself as a genuine alternative family Christmas show with this year’s Red Riding Hood. With pop songs for the kids, older songs for the grown ups and a few nicely chosen show tunes in between, this panto is a good-natured mishmash of traditional and modern that works well.
Red (Gemma Brodrick) has a stage school shine that carries the production well; Karen Blick’s script makes some unusual changes to the story as it is known, with cartoon-y results. Red’s Scouse bird mum Delilah (Catherine Rice) has a penchant for making a show of herself and her daughter with a unique sense of style that mostly sees her kitted out in a David Bowie glam style; and inexplicably West Indian grandma Doris (Leroy Luburd) is the dame as well as the head of the household.
Wilf the Wolf – or is he? – is a great character with another good comic performance from LAST’s Barrie Ryan English. Wilf isn’t quite into all the bad guy stuff, until he finds grandma’s secret potion…
The show brings together four performers with notably different styles and that shows on a stage so small – however, it makes the most of the space in other ways, like chases around the auditorium. Turning Hairspray’s Good Morning Baltimore into Good Morning Liverpool to kick the panto off was a nice touch, while the inclusion of the Muppet Movie’s Life’s a Happy Song really upped the feelgood factor. Good fun.
Little Red Riding Hood is on until December 21.