Charles Perraultís story of (Little) Red Riding Hood has been a popular subject for pantomime treatment since 1803, which is somewhat surprising when one considers how slender is the plotline. It was, I believe, the first pantomime I ever saw, way back in the 1930s, and at least three-quarters of it had nothing to do with the story. I was, however, so impressed that I insisted on seeing the production again and again, and was fortunately indulged by various aunts and grandparents. Thus began my life-long passion for pantomime. Unfortunately, despite my extended professional career in the theatre, Iíve never had the chance to appear in that particular show, for to all intents and purposes, Red Riding Hood has practically vanished from the roster.There was a production of it at the Covent Garden Opera House (oh, yes there was) and I remember a version in Winsor some time in the 1970s, but apart from that, the only productions Iíve seen have been by amateur companies. Itís a great pity, because as the storyline is so thin, pantomime writers have lavished there skills on filling out the plot with wonderful comic routines (some well over a hundred years old) that still bring the house down. This particular version contains some which have been "lifted" into other pantomimes for years, but Iíve attempted to simplify and modernize them without damaging their effect. I hope you approve. As before, although Iíve indicated where songs (optional or otherwise) and dances shouls be placed, the choice is yours. You know yur own audiences. All I suggest is that you keep the music bright, the smiles fixed firmly on the faces, and the pace lively. The rest should be pure magic.
The Woodland Fairy
Lupus Rex, King of the Wolves
Boy Blue, a shepherd
Bo-Peep, a shepherdess
Sir Jasper de Vyle, Squire of Ferndale Manor
Hustle and Bustle, his two henchmen
Belinda Merry, known as Red Riding Hood
Prince Edwin of Entertainia
Bobby Shaftoe, his faithful servant
Grandma Malaria Merry, Belindaís grandmother
Chorus of Villagers
Dancers as Villagers, Cooks and Fairies
Children as Village Children and Little Fairies
For Margaret and Barry Goodson.