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Magical Red Riding Hood

PUBLISHED: 11:04 27 August 2009 | UPDATED: 17:26 16 August 2010

A CLOUDLESS evening sky and balmy summer breeze welcomed us to the Square2 theatre on the promenade outside the National to see Otsoko, writes Edward Martyn. Seating is rudimentary, the stage is a large metal square with wheels, and air-conditioning uni

A CLOUDLESS evening sky and balmy summer breeze welcomed us to the Square2 theatre on the promenade outside the National to see Otsoko, writes Edward Martyn.

Seating is rudimentary, the stage is a large metal square with wheels, and air-conditioning units hum on the concrete walls.

It is down to the actors to create magic out of this un-promising space.

Gaitzerdi Teatro are a Basque theatre group from Bilbao and their Red Riding Hood is a creative delight.

Amplified bagpipe music drowns out the aircon.

And in the darkness a wolf-pack prowls menacingly around and amongst the audience. Actors dressed in electrifying wolf costumes, quite literally, as they have light-bulbs down their backs, rear and howl as they search for prey.

As they fade into the background, quick changes allow them to re-appear as wood spirits twirling giant swords.

These are stuck into the stage and become gymnastic poles for the supple performers to slide and posture on.

Razor sharp darts are thrown carelessly around as Red Riding Hood dreamily reads a book in the forest before visiting her beloved grandma.

Smoke and bamboo poles are used to create the mystical forest, where Grandma is quickly disposed of by the ravenous wolves.

Fire is introduced to heighten the effect of menace, and poor RRH. Is trapped and metamorphosed into a baying wolf.

MCAM have created wonderful costumes and with the amount of imagination and discipline this troupe have at their disposal this is a truly stunning UK debut.

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