Camden Fringe 2012
Variation on a fairytale: Little Red Riding Hood comes to Camden Fringe
Red Girl is theatre company Gulliver Bell’s first show – a production that borrows key elements from the classic fairytale Little Red Riding Hood, as familiar scenarios befall its female protagonist. Writer and Director Martin Stewart, who also stars in the play, has created a beguiling work that’s not dull to watch but is hard to measure by way of merit.
In a surreal turn of events, Radio 3 presenter Anoushka Harriet (Siobhan Schulz) takes a journey in her car to The Royal Festival Hall,
London, to present a programme on Finnish composer and conductor, Esa-Pekka Salonen, whose music provides the soundtrack. It is during this car journey that Harriet takes advice from strangers and drifts off course, diminishing her chances of making the programme on time, only to find she is also endangering her life.
There are moments of obscurity. On a number of occasions an outburst the length of a monologue stops play for a character to discuss in depth a particular part of the body. The digression is fairly inexplicable. As such, the Little Red Riding Hood influences provide the most clarity and infuse the play with the most meaning – the ideas translate well into the context and help to bolster an already pleasing script.
A low budget production, a small number of props are used to striking effect – Harriet’s car is imagined by way of a pole with two torches attached at either end to suggest headlights. Schulz handles her part perfectly well, but her interaction with Sina Dashtipour, Luke/the AA man, appears stilted and distracted. The most enjoyable moments feature road-workers Adam (Keaton Makki) and Mac (Peter McAnena), whose roadside banter provides an easy touch of comedy.
The surrealist elements could do with refining and developing to prevent them bordering on the pretentious and the overly abstruse, but this is an intriguing piece of theatre with some interesting ideas.