Monday, January 23, 2012

Theatre Geek Critique

I make no bones about it. I was a Theatre Geek in school. The costumes, the make up, the ability to step into other people's lives for a few minutes was so fun and exciting. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was to get to take my kids to see Red Riding Hood at the Regent Centre this weekend.

When we sat down and I realized this was going to be a full on true-blue theatre experience that my kids might enjoy, it just about blew my mind. This particular performance was going to be a Pantomime. For those who aren't in the know, a Panto is where the audience gets to participate. They "boo" bad guys and "woo hoo" the good ones. Shouts of warning fly about when the heroine or hero is in danger. It's a full on no holds barred experience for everyone. 

What I liked: 

~ This is a hilarious John Morley adaptation which included show stopping songs and well choreographed dance routines.

~ The costumes and scenery were really well done. 

~ Coral Newton plays Little Red Riding Hood and the girl's got some serious singing chops. 

~ Granny and Cousin Tom, had the best energy out of all the cast and really gave it their all to make it a fun light hearted experience.

What I didn't like:

~ The show was 2.5 hours long people. 2.5 Hours. Have you ever tried to keep a 4 year old in a seat for 2.5 hours? This is a Panto advertised for kids. Even I didn't want to be there 2.5 hours. As a theatre geek, I couldn't help sitting there mentally cutting bits of material that could've easily been lost and kept the show enjoyable.

~ This was a tech heavy production. You can't afford technical mistakes in that kind of production. The sound levels needed improvement. You often couldn't hear people singing over the live orchestra or the music track. I'd have to say that was the most frustrating technical aspect. There were other issues like mic's and props missing at key points.

~This is my biggest gripe. For a children's production I thought there were some seriously unnecessary and inappropriate content included such as a joke about "Making love in cornfields" and how that goes against the grain. Or the leather bustier on Granny with the false breasts popping out the top in a disturbingly exaggerated way who then climbs into bed with a bottle of alcohol. Moments such as Cousin Tom trying to hit on the village girls in a cheeky and somewhat lewd way which got him slapped repeatedly. I could easily see how it'd be great to have for an audience on a Saturday night where aiming for a Rocky Horror Show vibe for adults makes sense but not so much for a children's production mostly consisting of children aged 4 and up. 


I give Red Riding Hood 6.75 stars out of 10. 
I think ticket prices were high at a range of £8.50-£12.50 for a local small show for children. On the brighter side, profits are reported to be donated to a charity. I wouldn't recommend this to any parents of younger children in the Christchurch area but it might be worth a night of entertainment to a slightly older audience who've had a few drinks. To make up for the absence of photo's/video of the performance here I am in my masquerading glory.


  1. great post! i haven't been to the theatre in years!! loving the mask :)

    thanks for the comment on my blog :) I will write a review very soon for the glitter eyeliner :)

  2. chillairandperfumeJanuary 24, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    "It might be worth a night of entertainment to a slightly older audience who've had a few drinks." HA! Isn't everything entertaining to that segment of the population? ;)


  3. I love your photos!!!! My favorite color is purple, so anything with purple I instantly love. That's so cool that you were/are a theater geek. I think once you are hooked into theater, you are forever hooked into it.

    2.5 hours is long. OH my! i don't even like my movies to be that long. I don't know how you kept your little one in a seat. You deserve a metal or something! You know, I've noticed that a lot of cartoons and movies I used to watch when I was younger had a lot of sexual jokes that I didn't even know it was in there. For example, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, I never thought Jessica Rabbit was sexy. I know that sounds weird, but when I was younger, I didn't know what sexy was. Now, I see Jessica Rabbit as a super charged sexy gal. I can't believe I was allowed to watch that. LOL

  4. I have always loved acting and watching productions and movies just make me want to perfect what i see through my acting! it is such a enjoyable experience to fully exercise the ever changing variety of human emotion through a small snippet of time

  5. Pantomime sounds like a fun experience! I wish there were events like that here or that I could go to one. I would be throwing rotten fruit all the time, ok maybe not ;) and I LOVE these photos! Your purple makeup looks amazing!

  6. Oh I love the theater as well! I was in a Drama club in high school and for 3 years it was my life! Unfortunately I didn't get to go see plays a lot. They're a bit expensive...Here in Dublin I usually go to a small Improv pub where actors improvise based on the request of the audience. It's a lot of fun!
    Btw, love the venetian mask! So sexy and mysterious!:)

  7. I would love to see more but my budget doesn't allow for it. I might get to see one next month which I'm very excited about but it's only because a friend of mine has an extra ticket they bought ages ago. The Improv pub sounds hilarious and I'd love to see something like that. I'm going to keep an eye out and see if there's around.

  8. It really is a blast isn't it? Sometimes, I think about volunteering at one of the local theatre's to see if I still enjoy it in the same way but I just can't imagine how I would fit it into my schedule right now. Maybe some day!

  9. I might have to forfeit my metal. You see, there were lots and lots of candies involved. I don't normally give my kids candy unless it's a super special occasion. I'm an uptight anti-refined sugar warrior after finding out how icky it is for our bodies. My back was up against a wall though. There was flopping about, crying, laying down across people...but if you stick a gummy bear in their mouths, it makes it much tougher for them to whine or cry and the sugar gets them perky enough to sit back up. Horrible isn't it? :D

    I think there's definitely an acceptable way to incorporate more adult material into a children's show without it crossing a line. I think Shrek is an excellent example of doing that. This was well over the line though. I really really disliked having Cousin Tom coming on stage acting and talking crudely to young women while having a large audience of adults laughing and thereby sending the message to my boys that people will find it funny/acceptable. I think that small isolated incidents that don't happen very often in a child's regular daily life is navigable and won't have much affect. However, (this is where I climb on my soap box for a minute so forgive me.) I think that culturally we're tolerating more and more inappropriate material to younger and younger audiences where accidental over exposure is almost impossible to avoid unless you partake in something like home-schooling. It's to the point now that toddlers are dressed up like prosti-tots for Halloween and often sent off to school in a similar fashion. It does my head in. As a parent, I just want to preserve their innocence and let them be children for as long as I can. I can't tell you how horrified I was the day I was standing outside the classroom to pick my kid up from school, to sit there and listen to two older brothers who were there to pick up their younger brother, talk about "climbing all up on that," about one of my child's teachers. They didn't care that they were standing in front of an adult. They looked to be about 10 yrs old. Maybe that's the norm for 10 yr olds today. It certainly wasn't the norm in my head at 10. :(

    (Alright, putting the soap box away hehehe.)

    I think purple is probably my favorite eye make up color for now. I'll be honest though, I don't know how ppl pick a fave and stick with it. I'm always rolling on to something new.

  10. Thank you Laura! The make up was DiorShow mascara in black, 17's Eye Liner in Plum, with Stila eyeshadow that I got from Sephora. If they gave singular names for the shadows I'd give them but it doesn't. I really love Stila because you can pack it on, it doesn't settle in creases and it stays in place for hours.

  11. I seriously love your photos, Rach! Great critique of the piece! It seems so strange they would advertise for children, especially being 2.5 hours long and those poor jokes.

  12. your critique is well written and very useful. I think you are a wonderful mother because you give to your children the great opportunity to enjoy of the theater. All these experiences are really important! When my daughters were little I tried to give them a lot of incentives, the children will treasure of everything.
    ciao my dear friend!

  13. I truly agree. If the jokes had been cleaned up and 45 minutes of material cut (15 mins were an intermission which was beyond needed) it would've been just ducky for children. However, they could've just full on committed to making the piece a proper cultish Rocky Horror like experience just for adults and had a hit that would've gone down well with adults who get to enjoy having a regular social life. (Something as a parent, I don't get to participate in too regularly.) This whole idea of straddling the two types of audiences just didn't serve them well.

  14. Thanks Marina! I agree that exposing children to as much as we can is what will inspire them later in life. I would love to take mine on all the fabulous trips you go on. I think it provides such a wonderful world perspective and really opens the mind in great ways.

  15. Great post!! I've always had friends into theatre and I've always wanted to be the artist working on the shows, like doing the posters and such lol :)

  16. Doing the sets is so much fun. I learned so much about building and decorating through it. I also got into costume design but I wish I'd had more exposure as I didn't do a whole lot. The graphic design component of the posters, the programs handed out to the audience, and any web presence was also fascinating. The whole thing was so creative and artistic. They say it's never too late so I keep thinking some day, I'll go for it again.