Review: Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Coronet Theatre)

Compagnie Louis Brouillard have brought their inventive and expressionistic adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood to the stage for the first time, written and directed by Joël Pommerat.

Very detailed in both text and movement, and darkly comic, this interpretation is performed by a cast of three. Rodolphe Martin acts as the storyteller, with Murielle Martinelli as the little girl and the grandmother, and Isabelle Rivoal as the mother and the wolf.

Pommerat’s production has a quiet beauty helped by lighting effects from behind the action (designed by Éric Soyer) and the movement of the performers. At times it feels more mime or dance than drama, and the character of the wolf in particular is strongly realised with both cunning and charm.

Promotional photo from Le Petit Chaperon Rouge

Please note that if you are not a native or proficient French speaker, you will have to rely on the surtitles provided, and that in some seats you might find these obscured by the blocking of the actors.

It’s a point that may need to be addressed in future stagings, as a slight rethink or repositioning would have removed the problem. You can of course follow the story as you wish, but the translation adds another level.

This 45 minute piece is short enough to be enjoyed by children of all ages, and the translation is witty with some amusing moments, while also placing emphasis on the curiosity and innocence of a child who stops to talk to each “chatty aunt” she sees.

Promotional photo from Le Petit Chaperon Rouge

As an adaptation, you may find it differs slightly from the fairytale you remember, but it is effective throughout, and has an amusing coda with everyone learning to be sensible and live their lives with more caution.

La Petit Chaperon Rouge (Little Red Riding Hood) continues at the Coronet Theatre in Notting Hill until 21 November, and tickets can be purchased here. You can find out more about Compagnie Louis Brouillard and their director by visiting their website.

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