Fairytale leaps to life with fun twist

28 September 2023

This light-hearted spin on a classic is the perfect entrée to ballet for all ages, writes Bethany Stopher.

Little Red Riding Hood, WAAPA 
Perth Cultural Centre, 26 September 2023 

There is quite a turnout on this sunny Tuesday morning as toddlers and parents wait eagerly for dancers from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts to enter the Perth Cultural Centre amphitheatre. 

Although small in numbers, the cast of Little Red Riding Hood fill the stage with their animated portrayal of the characters.  

The audience is particularly responsive to Jerome Jordan, who shines in the role of the conniving Wolf. With his ferocious snarls, mischievous winks to the crowd and dramatically stylised movements, he makes quite the impression, with many adults around me laughing more than the children.  

Jade Marquez as the protagonist Red is also a delight to watch, delicate and deliberate in every movement. She has a graceful and captivating stage presence. 

The storyline strays slightly from the classic tale, with hilarious effect. The demure elderly lady has been replaced by the quintessential hippy. Instead of donning an old-fashioned bonnet and apron, this Granny (Jess Ford) shines in baggy boho pants (all the better to do yoga in, my dear), and waits eagerly for her crystals and “organic, gluten free bread”. 

Other changes include the Wolf shooting across the stage on a scooter; Red’s glasses being stolen, causing her to wander aimlessly about the stage; and an amusing battle scene between Granny and the Wolf, featuring Red’s hood brandished like a bullfighter’s cape and oversized knitting needles as swords.  

Andries Weidemann’s light-hearted choreography is the perfect introduction to classical ballet.

The original soundtrack (composed by Emma Jayakumar) is highly effective in adding nuance to the story. In place of a narrator, the voices of Robert Hoffman and Caitlyn Cassidy relate the characters’ internal and external dialogue with operatic tones.  

As it is a well-known fairytale, the voiceovers need not explain the plot, but instead add a humorous quality to the already comical charades of the dancers. Lincoln Conroy’s Woodman struts to the song applauding his “muscles, jawline, axe and height” – a confidence earned after his impressive double tour en l’airs.  

Andries Weidemann’s light-hearted choreography is the perfect introduction to classical ballet, with the incorporation of highly stylised movements in the more technically brilliant sequences. The scenery (designed by Robbie Harold) is minimal but effective, with a cutout of the “dark woods” being spun around to reveal Granny’s cottage.  

After the Wolf’s defeat (and escape?) young audience members are encouraged to take part in a short workshop, where they learn to skip like Little Red Riding Hood and meditate like Granny.  

Little Red Riding Hood has something for everyone, infant to grandmother – even the teenage boy accompanying me enjoyed himself. It is a free event, making the performance highly accessible to those wanting a taste of the wonderful art form that is ballet.  

Little Red Riding Hood is performed twice daily at the Perth Cultural Centre until 30 September. 

Pictured top: This adaptation of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ has plenty of laughs for young and old. Photo supplied

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Bethany Stopher has long brown hair over her shoulders and is smiling at the camera

Author —
Bethany Stopher

Young writer Bethany Stopher is a high school student who has a passion for ballet and creative writing. She is drawn to shiny things, pretty words, and big hugs. Her favourite piece of playground equipment is the swings because it feels like flying.

Past Articles

  • Portraits of youth are a pleasure to behold

    Whether tender, disturbing, humorous or hopeful, the portraits by Australian high school students in this year’s Lester Youth Prize Awards impress teen critic Bethany Stopher.

  • Delightful dancers win young hearts

    A new ballet commissioned by Awesome Festival is a wonderful introduction to the artform for young audiences, writes junior writer Bethany Stopher.

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