You could tell that an old tale was getting fresh new treatment from the first hip-hopping beat to when a cool dude wolf bops along dropping the scoop from His perspective for a change. And is it an eye opener. The original flava-fresh script by Christopher Piper offers delightful new twists about what really might have happened when pigs decided to build houses made of straw, wood and finally brick.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First of all, a slamming beat rocks the house during the pre-show and the fresh-stepping wolf isn’t far behind. By the time he comes a’rocking down the trail, we’re all set to join him as he invites a call and response from the enthusiast crowd.
Young and old alike will appreciate the rhythm’s fun cadence, and Piper’s own witty twists have universal appeal –spoiler alert, listen closely to catch a quick reference to the classical composer Haydn in the wolf’s plans to be “hiding” in one of the scenes. It’s a gem.
What’s also special is getting a behind the scenes glimpse at the relationship between the pigs, including hints about their fussy and, in one case, pretentious personalities, and that they have names—Michael, David and Gregory.
In this version, the wolf actually befriends little Gregory who has been cast off from the others to fend for himself. Little ones can relate and sympathize with his fears of being alone and calling for his Mommy. When his brother’s golden straw hut is demolished by gusts of wind, who gets the blame? The innocent by-standing wolf of course, who insists he was taking a much needed nap at the time. Once the pigs get an idea in their heads, though, there’s no stopping them as they flee to each other’s houses and slather tales about the big bad wolf who gets the bad rap. But, that’s all he needs to add new verses to his … rap, see? Get it? The text is filled with such double entendres for a fun filled and engaging perspective on the familiar story.
The introduction of an adorable girl skipping along in a red riding hood is just as creative since she makes a brief appearance during the piggy sequence before bringing her own drama into the mix. The twist in this tale is that the wolf is more interested in the tasty cookies than bony human flesh (yuk) so he does what he can to entice the basket of cookies out of the girl’s grasp.
Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs
Closes March 10, 2013
The Puppet Co.
7300 MacArthur Blvd.
Glen Echo, MD.
45 minutes with no intermission
Thursdays thru Sundays
As such, the lyrics are adorably family friendly but with enough bounce and bite to keep from being sugary, even including lessons – be mindful of others, have concern for the environment, and be careful not to eat too many sweets.
Piper with fellow puppeteer Tony Strowd manipulates the characters and Allan Stevens directs, designed the set and costumes which MayField Piper created.
This two for one production offers different points of view about well-known characters told through enticing lyrics with a funky downbeat that will have you bee-bopping long after the show is over.
Recommended for pre-K through Grade 6.
Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs . Based on a Folktale . Produced by The Puppet Co . Reviewed by Debbie Minter Jackson.