Edinburgh Fringe 2011
An engaging children’s show that mashes together popular fairytales to create a charming new play with music (performed by students) that could do with tightening and a proper ending.
Ruby doesn’t want to put the light out and go to bed, because she’s not sleepy and wants to finish her favourite fairytales. However, her mother insists and Ruby finally settles down to sleep but when she wakes up, she lost in an enchanted dream with Jack (who has just sold his cow for magic beans) Goldilocks (who smells porridge cooking) a Handsome Prince (looking for a girl to fit a sparkly shoe) and a sinister wolf. Ruby finds a red cloak and decides she is just the girl for an adventure. However, as the forest grows dark, she worries that she’ll never find a way home and misses her mother. Fortunately, her new friends come to the rescue.
There is a lot to praise about this production, the set is colourful and well crafted. The music is refreshing and the performances spirited and the children in the audience were drawn into the story. Emily Oliphant as Ruby is the pivot of the story. Her final song really spotlights her promising singing voice and made me wish that she’d used her natural tone throughout. Corey Hanson has good comic timings as the Handsome Prince who is supposed to slay dragons but is frightened of his shadow. His song was a complete revelation. Rebecca Coon as Goldilocks and Toby Davies as Jack provided a lot of charm too.
Using bits of famous stories is fun but unfortunately the team did not trust us to know them, so we get read the whole of Little Red Riding Hood and large chunks of other fairytales too. The character who potentially has the most interesting journey – the wolf who goes from big and bad to kind and cuddly – does not get enough time to establish his character (just skulks around frightening him) so when he changes, it doesn’t quite ring true. Finally, the audience is not sure when the play ends – until the production staff applauded and give us the signal.