Four stars

The Mayor has just declared that the threat of wolf attacks will not stop life going on as usual. And the villagers of story-book-couthy Fabyle are muttering versions of “aye, right..! Have you SEEN the Big Bad Wolf? Have you HEARD the Big Bad Wolf? “ and preparing to arm themselves and go to war against all wolves. Adults will catch the clever parallels that writer/director Scott Gilmour is creating with the perils of our own times, but for youngsters in the audience, it’s just the right scary edge to make Little Red’s fun-filled friendship with Lyca a cause for concern.

Red (a sparky Marli Siu) reckons it’s not always the wolf’s fault when bad things happen to humans, while young cub Lyca (a lithe and engaging Cristian Ortega) wouldn’t harm a fly – however he’s been told that humans are the real aggressors. Mutual ignorance and hostile suspicion – Red and Lyca see beyond them, but that Big Bad Wolf isn’t keen on cross-species rapprochement. When Billy Mack, with a growl in the howl and a tremendous, long-snouted wolf-head, enters the story as the villainous Big Bad Wolf it’s time to be afraid. Very afraid. The gobbling up of Red’s feisty Granny (Ann Louise Ross) is gruesomely heard if not seen but the familiar ending is here given a valiant twist that affirms Red’s instincts about Lyca. In all, it’s a cracking piece of family-friendly music theatre where a seven-strong ensemble help Gilmour re-energise an old story, with Claire McKenzie’s music a real plus – the wolves’ Song to the Moon, led by Irene MacDougall’s charismatic Wolfmother makes you want to howl with delight.