BWW Reviews: PETITE ROUGE: A CAJUN RED RIDING HOOD Delights at Adventure Theatre MTC
Little Red Riding Hood's adventure to grandma's house has taken a toe-tappin' twist down south just in time for Mardi Gras. At Adventure Theatre MTC, the whole family can enjoy a festive celebration with Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood. Based on Charles Perrault's classic fairy tale and adapted from the book by Mike Artell and Jim Harris, Petite Rouge takes audience's on a musical journey into the swamps of Louisiana. Directed and choreographed by Adventure's own Michael J. Bobbitt, this show is a delight for all ages.
A red-hooded duckling named Petite Rouge (Brittany Williams) is anxious to explore the world on her own. Lucky for her, Ms. Duck asks Petite Rouge to deliver a basket full of Cajun goodies to her sick Grandmere. Petite Rouge and her sidekick cat, Tejean (Jimmy Mavrikes), venture into the Bayou, and Petite Rouge's appetite for adventure leads them off the beaten path. They meet a range of characters, including The Big Bad -and hungry- Gator...suddenly the trek to Grandmere's house takes a spiky turn.
The small ensemble cast brings an incredibly high amount of energy to the stage. Brittany Williams' portrayal of Petite Rouge is animated, charming, and quite relatable for any child or adult who may yield to their impulses. Greg Twomey creates a "Big Bad Gator" who one can fear and love at the same time. The entire cast shines during the play's countless humorous moments, which include jokes for both younger and older audiences.
Petite Rouge's costumes are entertaining in themselves. Each character has a vibrant outfit with layer upon layer of colors, patterns, and textures on an innumerable amount of vests, socks, and sweaters. The characters are finally topped with an animal hat, which is then topped by yet another hat.
The set is simple but effective, allowing the characters to lead the audiences into the Louisiana swamps and Mardi Gras celebrations. Jason Arnold's lighting also highlights the play's roller coaster of moods.
One of the strongest aspects of the production is the story's infusion of catchy musical numbers. Characteristic to the play's setting, the music is Zydeco, a popular music of Southern Louisiana that combines French, Caribbean, and blues tunes. With each song, the cast explodes into exciting choreography, which combines various dance styles as well, such as the charleston and tango.
The musical aspect of the play is one of the best parts, though it is not perfect. A few times, a cast members' voice is overrun by the music. Some of the songs, and in general the story, start to feel a bit longer than necessary as well, but overall, these elements are minor compared to the amount of fun audiences will have during this colorful performance.
Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood plays at Adventure Theatre MTC at Glen Echo Park (7300 MacArthur Blvd in Glen Echo, MD) through March 8, 2015.
Running Time: One hour with no intermission.
Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 301-634-2270.
Photo credit: Bruce Douglas
From This Author Emma Kouguell