Storybook Theater takes the grim out of classic fairytales. Their current musical production, Little Red, puts a contemporary spin on the familiar characters and plot from Little Red Riding Hood.
The play's heroine zooms through the woods on tennis shoes with built in skates and wears a red hoodie sweatshirt instead of a cape. The wolf, who looks and sounds distinctly like Elvis, is not scary at all. He's allergic to meat, and instead of wanting to eat Little Red and her grandmother, he's after some birthday cake.
The scare factor of the hunter is completely neutralized by his costume. His ammo belt is made up of Pez candy dispensers. My 7-year-old daughter thought it was great that Granny informed the macho hunter that she and Little Red were quite capable of taking care of themselves and didn't need him to protect them from the wolf.
Red is a tough, confident little girl who tells the soulful wolf to back off in no uncertain terms. That was my 3-year-old's favorite part. The two would-be enemies end up becoming friends and sing about not judging people by their appearance.
Storybook's productions always incorporate meaningful lessons into their musical numbers. I was happy to see that Little Red wore a helmet and wrist guards, and she drove that lesson on safety home with a song. All four actors had strong singing voices and great comedic timing.
Since it's always a challenge to hold the attention of little kids, I was worried about my crew that included an antsy 3-year-old and two sleep deprived 7-year-olds fresh from a slumber party. All three were completely engrossed. They clapped, sang, and laughed their way through the hour-long play.
The girls loved meeting the actors, who stick around after the performance to answer questions about the production and sign autographs.
IF YOU GO
Where: Kirkland Performance Center, 350 Kirkland Ave.; Seattle Museum of History & Industry in McCurdy Park, 2700 24th Ave. E.
When: Kirkland: Nov. 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.; Seattle: Dec. 5., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Admission: $9 for all seats.
Contact: 1-877-827-1100 or 425-827-3123; www.StoryBookTheater.org.
Laura Spruce Wight is a Seattle-area freelance writer and mother of two.