top of page

Little Red | Theatre Porto

The Christmas show for young people is evolving. For years, one could almost guarantee that productions in this price range would rely solely on low-hanging- fruit, toilet humour. Little Red at Theatre Porto is so much more. This is a production that knows exactly what it wishes to be and delivers in bucketloads, skilfully crafted by the team at Theatre Porto where the mantra “… for, by and with young people” certainly rings true. Carefully sculpted by writer Kevin Dyer, director Nina Hajiyianni and the all-female cast of 4, this is quite clearly a collaborative piece of work that the actors on stage are truly passionate about, and that is tangible in their excellent performances.

The story follows that of the classic fairy tale, with a couple of twists and all the expected magical feeling. The star of this show, however silly this may sound, is the flooring. Entirely malleable, this material and its clever use changes and depicts the character’s setting as effectively as any theatre technique. Ever-moving and ever-evolving with the help of the cast, the rest of the set transports the audience along with Little Red on her journey. These sequences, beautifully underscored by Patrick Dineen’s bassoon-heavy incidental ditties, evoking that distinct feeling of travel, are quite superb. It’s in these movement only sections that the audience can really feel the magic come to life. The rest of the score is simple but effective in keeping the story fluid and trotting along nicely.

Sondheim himself would have been proud of the fairy tale section, with half a dozen stories explored in a matter of minutes. Kids and adults alike sat on the edge of their seats, excited to see which well-known characters would appear next, competitive guessing games played in whispers between them.

No Christmas show for children is complete without an element of participation for the young ones and the “Howl Off” was an inspired and creative way to get them involved.

Digging a little deeper into the text, the nods to the more serious topic of deforestation having an impact on wildlife were most welcome – always nice to keep the audience thinking. Let’s be clear, this is British Children’s Theatre at its finest. And if you’re concerned about the usual gore of the ending… don’t be. The Brothers Grimm don’t get a say here! Little Red continues at Theatre Porto until 13th January 2024 and you can find tickets and more details here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Jake Ryan


bottom of page