The Red Shoes
Based on a story by Hans Christian Andersen
Directed by Patrick Dineen
30th November 2010 - 22nd January 2011
Less is certainly more and better with regard to the Unity Theatre's
pantomime The Red Shoes. Presented
by Ullaloom and based on the Hans Christian Andersen story about the young
girl who is corrupted by ambition and fame when she is given a pair of
red shoes, this production presents a quirky, slightly edgy take on the
'be careful what you wish for' moral.
Harriet Leah Preston plays a delightful, if at times slightly subdued
Grace, the young girl at the centre of the story, obsessed with fame and
willing to give up everything for the red shoes as long as she stays pure
She is handsomely supported by a talented and versatile cast, with a
special mention to Graham Geoffrey Hicks who plays Ralph her goofy, doggy
sidekick, who tries to keep her on the straight and narrow and provides
many of the comic moments.
Julie Langford as Ruby and Holly Wilson-Guy are engaging and sassy in
a number of roles, while Aiden Lee Brookes adds a bit of edge as the villainous
agent. As the slightly sinister shoemaker, Mike Idris was enthralling,
making the perfect puppet master to the proceedings.
With a minimal stage set and highly effective use of an orange curtain
and lighting effects reminiscent of Russian silhouette art, the production
was a visual delight. I particularly loved the influence of 1940s film
and music on the song and dance routines and the costumes.
Although on the edgy side the production served up lots of laughs and
the banter between the cast and the audience was very entertaining, especially
when children from a local primary school were asked to share their jokes.
There was plenty of opportunity for the classic pantomime interaction
of 'behind you' and hissing and booing, which at times threatened to slow
down the action, but the cast consummately pulled it back and kept the
The Red Shoes is a must see and a refreshing change from the usual pantomime
fare, go and see it before après-Christmas apathy sets in!