Bare Feat Physical Theatre, Red

Review in Issue 10-2 | Summer 1998

Little Red Riding Hood seems an unlikely choice for a physical theatre reworking. Bare Feat set out to explore its dark themes, turning the fairy tale into a Freudian nightmare in the process. In this rendition, Little Red Riding Hood is caught in a tug of love between a neurotic mother who threatens to suffocate her and a batty grandmother who encourages her to run free. Away she escapes to the forest, where she engages in a spot of rough and tumble with the sinisterly-sexy big bad wolf, who turns out to be her mother with fur and claws. It goes without saying that the symbolism is a little heavy-handed.

The company of three are all engaging performers. Alexandra Hingst (Red Riding Hood) is all wide-eyed innocence until she gains her freedom in the forest, by which time she's acquired the savvy to give the wolf as good as it gets. Helen Tennison (mother/wolf) tends to be a little too mannered, but does invest both characterisations with some genuinely original idiosyncrasies. Victoria Isaacs is ethereal as the mumbling, mad grandmother and her restrained presence provides a necessary foil to the exaggerated performances of the other two.

However, there is something lacking at the heart of the piece, a certain lack of direction or unifying thread. The story is too slight and sticks too close to the original fairy tale to be interesting. The text, by Susie Campbell, is inconsistent, sometimes startlingly original and at other times slipping into the most naive of rhyming couplets. Above all, it is the mood of the piece which is alienating: being lost somewhere between moody expressionism and comedy knock-about. Consequently, Red, despite its nice performances and occasional clever devices, ultimately adds up to nothing much at all.

Presenting Artists
Date Seen
  1. Jun 1998

This article in the magazine

Issue 10-2
p. 22