Kneehigh, Cry Wolf

Review in Issue 15-3 | Autumn 2003

Kneehigh are interested in fairy tales, traditionally more horrifying than our cleaned-up nursery versions and often wickedly humorous. Following Red Shoes comes Cry Wolf, which has many charms: a racy script that references Angela Carter’s Company of Wolves; a great musical accompaniment from the Baghdaddies, and a resourceful and humorous design that plays on the story’s conflict between domesticity and rebellious ‘other paths’, with a forest of brooms stalked by a fur coat clad Cruella-de-Vil wolf (played by Emma Rice, who is also the wayward boozy mother).

Then there is the extraordinary performance from Giles King, who despite the manly shoulders, knobbly knees and bulging underpants makes a convincing Red Riding Hood, a child-woman seduced along the path of life into the joys of fags, slap and liquor. Trolloping through the woods in red platform shoes (red shoes again!), she is tricked into cannibalism and lured into bed… ‘Phooey! A slut is she who eats the flesh and drinks the blood of her granny.’ These are complemented by Craig Johnson, who plays the tea-cosy-hatted Granny and Lederhosen-legged Woodcutter.

Cry Wolf (an amalgam of Kneehigh’s previous productions Wolf and Fish Boy didn’t quite reach the heights of Red Shoes – it dilutes the darkness with a few too many pantomime/postmodern asides and easy laughs for my taste – and the rendition of ‘My Way’ in the middle was one of those karaoke moments so beloved of contemporary productions (stand up, Nigel Charnock and Improbable Theatre) that are now a tad passé. But in its celebration of adventure and rebellion and the pleasures of following life’s alternative paths, Cry Wolf is a must for anyone – adult or child-brave enough to venture into the woods alone.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Aug 2003

This article in the magazine

Issue 15-3
p. 22 - 23