My kids and I are huge supporters of Singapore Repertory Theatre’s The Little Company. Their past children productions both in English and Mandarin (like Three Billy Goats Gruff, Charlotte’s Web, The Ugly Duckling, Goldilocks, Treasure Island etc.) have never failed to wow us with their ingenious adaptions of plots, incredibly earnest acting, original music compositions and witty dialogues. This Red Riding Hood 小红帽 in Mandarin, is no different!
Now that the daughter is in Primary 3, her command of Chinese is more competent. I wanted her to watch this play so that she can appreciate the beauty and subtlety of the language in theatre form. At 9, she’s also more capable to catch the clever ‘between-the-lines’ jokes and metaphors which are trademarks of SRT’s plays. As for Buddy, he just turned 3. My purpose of bringing him to the play is to expose him to children’s theatre because research has shown that Chinese language immersion for young kids should start from 1. listening 2. speaking 3. reading then finally 4. writing (听,说,读,写). Since he is a reluctant Mandarin speaker, I hope children’s theatre can motivate him to use the language more willingly, both at home and in school.
The storyline for SRT’s Red Riding Hood 小红帽 expands from the familiar one we know. As the play unfolds, we watched a chirpy and sprightly Little Red (affectionately known as ‘小红’) venturing into the woods on her own to seek her grandmother’s wisdom on how to save her parents’ bakery following the curious disappearance of her father. Little Red is however waylaid by a charming and persuasive Big, Bad Wolf, who tricks her to wander off the beaten path to pick flowers for her grandmother. In the woods, Little Red meets a helpful but forgetful woodcutter (‘小樵夫’) who carries around with him a ‘Book of Important Things’, aka a spell book. That’s where the magic begins as the young audience are kept riveted to their seats and wonder if Little Red would be able to get to her grandmother in time to save her from the Big, Bad Wolf.
The energetic cast of 5 really brings the story of Red Riding Hood to life and had the young audience (and us parents) roaring in laughter: Red Riding Hood ‘小红’ (Sharon Sum), Big, Bad Wolf & Dad (Ric Liu), Grandma (Eleanor Tan). Special mention goes to Will, the Woodcutter 小樵夫 (Sugie Phua) who brings so much comic relief especially in the tense situations. The delivery of the mandarin script and transition of scenes are so brilliant and seamless, I marvel at the sheer amount of talent and effort put into rehearsal and production!
As a parent, I love how the play amplifies several traditional good values which we’ve been teaching our kids. Such as: not talking to strangers, the importance of family, teamwork, friendship, courage and lastly not to judge a book by its covers because outward appearances can be deceiving, it’s the heart and character inside that count. It’s amazing how much SRT’s The Little Company can pack into a single children’s play in an hour!
A word of advice though: while the play is directed at children as young as 3, older children (above 6) are likely to enjoy it more, given its higher language proficiency and slightly darker themes. Buddy was afraid of the Wolf and I had to carry him onto my lap and distract him with some snacks. Overall, it’s a superb production which made me fall in love with the beauty of the Chinese language again – the cleverly-written songs (which rhymes!), the creative sets and props, the emotive, humorous acting and the uplifting values the play inculcate makes SRT’s Red Riding Hood 小红帽 a must-watch kids production of the year!
成功呈献备受好评的英语制作之后，新加坡专业剧场旗下的小剧团继而推出音乐剧 《小红帽》 的华语版。在这激励人心的故事里，一个名叫小红的女孩勇敢地走进森林里，她想要一家团聚，也同时希望能解救母亲的蛋糕店生意。
Book & Lyrics by Jake Brunger | Music & Lyrics by Pippa Cleary
Show Dates: Now till Friday, 1 Sep 2017
Weekdays: 10am | Weekend & Public Holiday: 11am & 2pm
Venue: KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT
Ticket Pricing (Excludes Booking Fee):
Weekdays Standard: S$28, S$25
Family Package of 4: S$95 for Cat 1 tickets
Weekends (Sat & Public Holiday) Standard: S$48, S$38, S$35
Family Package of 4: Cat 1 (with photo taking)*: $163 | Cat 2 (no photo taking): $129