Little Red

Tramway, Glasgow

Mary Brennan


Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Frankly – who wanders through the woods these days? So meet Little Red, updating Grimm in a new dance-theatre show for family audiences where the "stranger danger" story of Little Red Riding Hood takes on a street-wise energy along with a nod to the wild side in all of us.

The first tweak comes in the guise of the little red-hooded heroine herself. In this Barrowland Ballet version, co-created by choreographer Natasha Gilmore and writer Robert Alan Evans, she’s a kind of EveryChild, portrayed by all three dancers – Jade Adamson, Kai Wen Chuang and Vince Virr (because it’s not just girls who can fall prey to wolves, especially on-line). The next twist comes in the form of the wolf: a quick costume change sees three red hoodies switched to grey furry ones – oh, Grandma! suddenly there’s a yowly-prowly pack of wolves, cutting loose on the Tramway stage. That stage, by the way, has looked a bit like a dark forest but when the wraps come off the trees, they reveal tall towers of wooden chairs that the dancers actually scale with the same thrilling attack they bring to Gilmore’s lively multi-styled choreography (well served by Kim Moore's richly-textured score)..

Voice-overs ensure the narrative is a crisp, clear framework for the dance, though the inventively rude humour that convey’s Grandma’s fate needs no additional comments – poo jokes have rarely been this witty or wicked. At the same time, the dancers’ crossover from potential victim to predator – or perhaps we’re watching school bullies in wolves’ clothing – opens up a wealth of new and relevant aspects of an old cautionary tale. Bold and brilliant, and worth taking a walk on the Red side.