Beware the Wolf: Musical Shadow Theatre by Men in Space

Review by Carmel Shortall

Beware the Wolf is a musical celebration of fairy tales and an imaginative re-telling of the Little Red Riding Hood story.

After their grandfather’s death, cousins Christian and Lottie, are sifting through their grandfather’s possessions in the attic. They find his old trunk and the book of stories with which he charmed them as children. It must be time for a song and they oblige, singing “Don’t look with your eyes, better to see with your heart”.    

The stage is strewn with boxes and bedecked with ‘dust sheets’ behind which back-lit shadows act out the stories of Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and The Three Bears as Christian reads from his grandfather’s book. But when he gets to Lottie’s favourite, Little Red Riding Hood, the pages have been torn out and Lottie must remember the story herself in order to come to terms with her grandfather’s death.

And so the story unfolds using a little bit of everything: shadow theatre, song and dance as well as more traditional storytelling techniques. Behind the sheet, the rest of the cast do a magnificent job bringing the stories to life as Little Red Riding Hood and the Woodcutter as well as two swaying singers providing the “sha-la-la-awooos” to accompany the gravelly-voiced wolf.   

Men in Space have come up with an extremely accomplished piece of family entertainment. The show is well staged, making maximum use of the limited space and the attic is convincingly evoked – both as an actual attic and as a portal to the world of the imagination.

Suitable for all the family, Beware the Wolf is a lot of fun and well worth getting out to see at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The show runs until the 22nd August at the Etcetera Theatre and tickets cost £8, concs £6.

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