Roger Hall’s RED RIDING HOOD The Pantomime 2014-15

Circa One, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Waterfront, Wellington

02/01/2015 - 10/01/2015

Circa One, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Waterfront, Wellington

15/11/2014 - 21/12/2014

Production Details

Written by Roger Hall
Songs by Paul Jenden & Michael Nicholas Williams
Directed by Susan Wilson

Presented by arrangement with Playmarket


Hooray!! It’s the Christmas season again! And this year Roger Hall’s wonderfully high-spirited pantomime Red Riding Hood is back to delight audiences of all ages, and bring a smile to your face.

Red Riding Hood is one of the greatest all-time favourites in this marvellous festive tradition. The story of innocent Red Riding Hood, and her poor short-sighted grandmother, and of course the handsome woodcutter and that villain of all villains, the Wolf, is one that everyone knows and loves. 

And in the great tradition of Circa pantos, it has been given the legendary ‘Hall’ special treatment, with lots of local references and topical jokes! 

A wolf has escaped from Wellington Zoo and is on the loose in the Karori Sanctuary – thanks to the bungling efforts of a couple of failed List MPs on work experience. He’s dangerous, and must be caught – and before the next full moon!

Meanwhile, Sir Roger Bounder, the evil property developer has other designs on this prime piece of real estate, and Grandma’s small adjoining cottage …


So get into the spirit of the season and join Red Riding Hood at Circa for a unique blend of panto fun – laughter, comedy, costume and songs with delighted audiences hissing and booing with gusto.

It is a marvellous, magical treat that is now truly, an unmissable part of Wellington’s Christmas experience. 

With a wonderful cast of highly talented actors, Red Riding Hood stars audience favourites and exciting new faces:  GAVIN RUTHERFORD, AWHIMAI FRASER, SIMON LEARY, JANE WADDELL, JONATHAN MORGAN, CARRIE GREEN, PATRICK DAVIES, and TOM TRUSS.

“A great way to introduce kids to the magic of theatre, and Red Riding Hood is easily the ideal Christmas outing for the holidaysa treat.” – Salient 

 “Roger Hall’s helter-skelter Red Riding Hood … is wonderfully exuberant seasonal fun” – Dominion Post

Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki Street, Wellington
$25 SPECIALS:  Friday 14November – 6.30pm;  Sunday 16 November – 4pm 
Performance times:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 6.30pm
Sunday:  4pm 
Extra matinees: Saturday 6th, 13th and 20th: 2pm 

2 – 10 JANUARY 2015 
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday:  6.30pm
Sunday:  4pm

Ticket Prices: Adults – $46 | Concessions – $38 | Children – $15
Family Tickets (2 adults + 2 children) – $107
Under 25s – $25 | Groups – (6+) $39; (20+) $36 

BOOKINGS:  Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki Street, Wellington
Phone 801 7992 |

Dahlia Hood (her daughter):  CARRIE GREEN
Red Riding Hood (her daughter):  AWHIMAI FRASER
Sir Roger Bounder:  PATRICK DAVIES
The Wolf:  TOM TRUSS
Musician:  Oliver Devlin

Lighting Design:  JENNIFER LAL
Costume Design:  SHEILA HORTON 

Stage Manager:  Eric Gardiner
Technical Operator:  Michael Duggan
Keyboard programming :  Michael Nicholas Williams
Sound Consultant:  Oceania Audio
Sound:  Paul Stent, Susan Wilson
Additional SFX:  Michael Duggan
Choreography:  Sacha Copland
Movement coach:  Tom Truss
Set Construction:  John Hodgkins, Louis Panther
Set Finishing:  Therese Eberhard, Louis Panther
Publicity:  Claire Treloar
Graphic Design:  Rose Miller, Kraftwork Design
Photography:  Stephen A’Court
House Manager:  Suzanne Blackburn
Box Office:  Linda Wilson

Jokes galore in Hall panto

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 17th Nov 2014

This year’s full-on, high energy, thoroughly enjoyable romp of a panto is threatened with closure right at the start when Grandma Hood (Gavin Rutherford) announces that she has received a text from Bill English announcing further financial cuts.

But the show carries on when she discovers a good-looking man (appropriately on opening night named Gavin), who clearly doesn’t know the dangers of sitting in the front row when a “sensual and sultry” elderly lady is on the rampage centre stage, and is competing with her daughter Dahlia Hood (Carrie Green) and her granddaughter Red Riding Hood (Awhimai Fraser) for any eligible man.

Then we discover that The Wolf (Tom Truss) has escaped from the zoo and is hiding in Zealandia. It is being chased by Morris (Jonathan Morgan) and Boris (Jane Waddell), who also crop up throughout the show in various penetrable Marx Brother-like disguises to good comic effect.

There is a moustache-twirling property developer villain, Sir Roger Powerballs Bounder (Patrick Davies), who wants to chop down all the trees and build houses, and a resolute, decent hero, who is an all-singing and all-dancing  self-styled ‘DOC Jock’, called Lance (Simon Leary).

The star of the show is Gavin Rutherford as Grandma who has now played the Dame in a number of pantomimes and has grown into the role so that it fits him so comfortably that he can be compared with David Tinkham’s dame of the Wellington Repertory pantos of the 50s and 60s. He has the same easy rapport with an audience and the essential sauciness of a low comedian.

Roger Hall throws into his frenetic comedy a non-stop stream of trad panto gags, slapstick pratfalls (“Trip Adviser”), sight gags, sound gags, in-jokes (the portrait of Grandma’s dead husband), political jokes, topical jokes, audience participation and comic songs. 

Susan Wilson somehow keeps it all under control assisted by her exuberant cast and hilarious choreography from Sacha Copland, colourful costumes by Sheila Horton, the moonlit sylvan setting by John Hodgkins, which is lit by Jennifer Lal, while the musical direction is by Michael Nicholas Williams and the musician is Oliver Devlin.


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Rapt kids amplifies adult enjoyment

Review by Lena Fransham 16th Nov 2014

It seems to me that Red Riding Hood, ostensibly a children’s tale despite its bawdy folk origins, is ideal panto material. The genre, much like the Riding Hood tale, layers adult themes and humour under the childish appeal of its presentation: the hammy caricatures, garish colours, corny jokes and playful interactive narratives are traditionally laden with innuendo and adult sub-texts.

The mix can be a little dubious if the show is aimed at children. However it seems that Red Riding Hood manages to tweak the borderline of panto-humour without careering into bad taste, and it comes up with an all-round crowd-pleaser. 

Roger Hall’s Red Riding Hood deftly brings out the pantomime values of the tale and, under Susan Wilson’s direction, true to its folk tale origins, it adapts to the times and the locale. The innuendo factor is pushed a little far at times, with the odd naughty aside falling flat, although there are some snortingly funny running jokes such as the repeated mobile phone gag.

The script abounds with contemporary political jibes (charter schools, Judith Collins, the abolition of smoko) and corny local jokes (“Anyone here from Naenae? Yes? Nae?”) and Wellington references: the ‘woods’ in which Grandma lives turn out to be the Zealandia sanctuary in Karori, where good guy Lance the ‘DOC jock’ (wholesomely rendered by Simon Leary) works as a volunteer. It’s all very rapport-building and the audience loves it.

Grandma Hood (Gavin Rutherford) carries much of the audience-engagement and her comic timing is fabulous. She’s delightfully grotesque and somewhat wolfish herself in her hunt for a man (of course there’s a ‘cougar’ joke in there). Her bed, which enters to the theme of 2001: A Space Odyssey, is literally a member of the cast.

Her daughter Dahlia Hood (Carrie Green) and granddaughter Red Riding Hood (Awhimai Fraser) complete a strong central trio. In contrast to the fairy tale, here it is Red Riding Hood who is the canny one, trying to warn her gullible mother and grandmother away from the property developer Sir Roger Bounder (Patrick Davies), whose secret agenda is to bulldoze their homes and cut down the trees in the sanctuary.

Sir Roger is great fun as the traditional dastardly type complete with sleazy musical theme and villainous moustache. “Boooo!” we all say. Seeing him get his comeuppance from the Hood women is predictably satisfying.

With John Hodgkins’ classy set, some smart costume decisions by Sheila Horton and playful musical direction by Michael Nicholas Williams, the production is extremely watchable. Simple choreography by Sacha Copland adds good visual impact, and Green and Fraser move very well, although the effect is weakened somewhat by the less polished movers in the full-cast dance routine. Exaggerated and repeated gestures with dramatic soundtrack support, such as Sir Roger’s slinky entrances, are used well and become an anticipatory game.

I have to mention Morris (Jonathan Morgan) and Boris (Jane Waddell), a mop-headed pair strongly reminiscent of Thing One and Thing Two from The Cat in the Hat, who are a comic highlight. The wolf (Tom Truss) adds well-placed drama and menace. The little girl behind me is so involved that she cries out “Wolf! Wolf!” with sincere concern for Red Riding Hood when the wolf creeps onto the stage. The little girl’s not too scared though: later she eagerly runs up there with the other children to help Lance sing a morepork song. The cast clearly know how to win an audience.

One thing is obvious: the kids are rapt, and I have to say the total engagement of the children in the audience amplifies my own enjoyment of this quality production.


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