Red Riding Hood – Rock’n’Roll Panto at The New Wolsey Theatre

Written by SarahSteel on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - 14:33

Red Riding Hood – Rock’n’Roll Panto

The New Wolsey Theatre, Civic Drive, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 2AS
Based on the classic tale of Red Riding Hood, the story is given a pantomime twist and an extra-special musical element in this excellent re-telling. All the performers are not only actors, but are also musically and vocally talented as well. Incorporating a range of instruments from keyboards and drums through to trumpets and saxophones, it’s as fascinating to see who is going to be playing or singing what next as it is to watch the story unfold. Well known rock and pop songs from across the decades, including renditions that Nirvana, Bruce Springsteen, Take That and Adele would be proud to hear, are used to support the themes in the story. The Wolf singing angst-ridden rock songs is a particularly special experience!
Of course, in true panto style, there’s slapstick comedy (including the obligatory custard pies) and a good dollop of cheeky humour. Although lots of the jokes are clearly aimed at the adults in the audience, there’s sufficient subterfuge in the double entendre to ensure that children will see a different funny side to the underlying adult amusement. There were certainly children as young as 7 or 8 in the audience who were laughing just as much as their accompanying grown-ups! Indeed, this performance offers plenty to laugh about, with characters who have excellent comedy timing as well as being engaging and warm. Even the crazy and rather self-centred Dame Milly has a secret story that twangs at the heart strings. 
And on the subject of Dame Milly… well those costumes alone make this show worth a look! I lost count of how many changes there were, but needless to say each is more outlandish than the last. As a side note, if you’re a shoe-lover there are some awesome pairs to keep your eyes peeled for – from sparkly silver Chelsea boots through to painted Doc Martens, this footwear does not disappoint!
Is this a pantomime that’s worth taking the family to see...? Oh, yes it is!
Useful info:
The complete performance, including the interval, takes 2 hours 45 minutes, so if you’re heading to the 7pm performace be aware that you won’t come out until 9.45pm – possibly a bit late for younger children on a school night. There are of course daytime and weekend performances on offer too, so get yourselves along to one of those if late nights are not an option. That said, one brave lady had her tiny baby on her lap with her at the performance I attended, and there was no issue with that.
Drinks are available from the bar area, and small ice cream tubs are sold during the interval.
The toilets are downstairs, so if there’s a need for a mid-performance loo-dash make sure you head to the lower exits from the auditorium.
The seating in The New Wolsey is perfectly tiered, so there’s unlikely to be any issue with visibility. There’s not masses of space in front of each seat though, so exiting in a hurry may be tricky if you’re mid-row. If you’re likely to need to leave during the performance, choose seats towards the end of the row – the seating and stage setup is great, and the set design for this particular show is very open, so you should have a great view wherever you sit.
The music during this performance is at a moderate level, but if your youngsters are sensitive to surprises do be aware that there is a very short section which includes sudden bursts of real flames!
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