(reviewed at the New Wolsey Theatre Studio, Ipswich on 10 December)
When children are a little too young to enjoy a full-length pantomime and might even, if this is a first encounter with live theatre, find the whole ambiance just a bit scary – what’s the alternative? There’s usually not a great deal, but the Stuff and Nonsense/Niki McCreeton version of the tale of the three little pigs and how they outwit a very hungry wolf will certainly go a considerable way to filling the gap.
The setting uses autumnal colour for the not-quite realistic trees and bushes which suggest the forest where the action happens. Katie Underhay and Peter Morton are the performers, switching so easily from onstage characterisations (Morton has great fun as the red-spectaclrd wolf) to puppet manipulation; this means that the young audience accepts the change-overs as perfectly natural.
Audience participation – hiding from the wolf and chanting the familiar repetitative rhymes with appropriate actions – fits in smoothly. This is an imagination-stretching show and I suspect that it may set the next generation of young theatre-goers in the right direction.
3 Little Pigs runs at the New Wolsey Studio Theatre, Ipswich until 3 January. Check the theatre website (wolseytheatre.co.uk or aloadofstuffandnonsense.co.uk) for performance times.