Photos by Jane Hobson
Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Pig
London's first ever professional Jewish Pantomime! Oy no it isn't...
I was commissioned by JW3 to write Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Pig. The show had all the trappings of a traditional pantomime along with very Jewish jokes and story telling.
Finalist for an Offie Best Pantomime Performance
Jewish Chronicle ****
Jewish Renaissance ****
How to write a diasporist panto
Taken from Vashtimedia.com by Katie Ebner- Landy
It is usually only when you are somewhere far away, or when you encounter someone very different, that you realise your own culture. “Up against another human being one’s own procedures take on definition,” the poet Anne Carson writes. But sometimes you don’t need this magic trick. Sometimes you can simply go and watch an excellent piece of theatre.
Faced with a British approach to Judaism that has been defined for so long by a relationship to Israel, it can be hard to feel that there is something particular about our diasporic culture, something distinct about being Jewish in Britain. Nick Cassenbaum’s Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Pig kicks you in the tuchus and tells you otherwise.
The scene: the Edge of Where. The plot: a big bad pig has captured the wolf and subjected them to slave-labour, where they must huff and puff into a wind-powered generator to produce energy for BP (Big Pig inporcorated). The wolf, chided with violent threats, must hunt and eat grannies to keep up their stamina, even though they are trying to cut down on meat. All the energy that BP is producing is not, however, helping to lower people’s bills. Instead, the cost of living is higher than ever.
Cue to a family that is so poor “the ducks throw bread at us.” A family of Red (a science whizz, whose mother is trying to marry her off), Mother Hoodman (respectively costumed as a pickle, a bottle of Palwin’s, a dreidel and a menorah), and the granny: an acrobatic, kung-fu-fighting Sacha-Baron-Cohen-esque-Widow-Twanky-booba.
The story is told through Craig David and Amy Winehouse numbers, puns that run the ring of the north circular, an extraordinary cover of Chiribim Chiribom and even some Yiddish. It makes all these terrible years of infighting almost worth it to see how well they are played in Cassenbaum’s extraordinary script. “I’m so bored of deputies,” Mother Hoodman quips.
This is a wonderful play and a brilliant bit of politics. It not only shows us a culture that is ours and that is here, but also gives us a good old class revolt, and something of a timely moral. At one point Mother Hoodman almost gets seduced into a life of luxury, and starts to see the wolf as her enemy, rather than the Big Pig, before all is rendered right again – as the play itself knows – through the secret ingredient of remembered history▼
Katie Ebner-Landy is a Junior Fellow at Harvard’s Society of Fellows and an editor at Vashti.