Charlette Speigner, Matthew Brennan, Ben Evans, Jessie Alagna, Kiersten Vorheis
& Seth Lieber in Petit Rouge. Photo-Stage One Family Theatre


Petite Rouge, A Cajun Red Riding Hood

Adapted for the stage with Book, Music & Lyrics by Joan Cushing
From the children’s book by Mike Artell
Directed by Gil Reyes

Review by Keith Waits

Entire contents copyright © 2014 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

Even under the estimable banner of Stage One Family Theatre, it might be difficult to find a fresh take on a tale as familiar as Little Red Riding Hood. But transplant the basic narrative to the Louisiana bayou, make Red a duck, swap an alligator with gourmet taste for the rapacious wolf, add a terrific score, and you have something new indeed.

Truthfully, I found myself having to refresh my memory a bit about the events of the original as this version unfolded before me, so diverted was I from the obvious expectations. It’s fundamentally the same plot, but the charm of the animal characters, the humor of the script, and the songs, make it a pleasure to witness.

About those songs: they were strong, with just enough of a solid base line to suggest they could be covered by a blues or zydeco band. When Claude the Alligator (a rascally Ben Evans) sings, “I’m Hungry”, it is both delightfully silly and a little bit funky, and “Riverboat Waltz” has a touch of grandeur suggestive of a more opulent, adult musical number.

But Petite Rouge is rightfully placed as a children’s adventure/lesson in which Rouge’s taste for wandering away from the path leads to danger and meaningful acts of courage.

Charlette Speigner gives her Rouge a reasonable amount of flavor, and the rest of the cast is sure-footed and genial, although perhaps a little too vanilla when filé is what’s called for. Director Gil Reyes sets a good pace and balances the humor and music enough to allow the moralizing to surface with more subtlety than one might expect.


Petite Rouge, A Cajun Red Riding Hood

October 10, 18, 25 & November 1, 2014 @ 2:00pm

StageOne Family Theatre
Kentucky Center for the Arts
501 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202


KeithKeith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at the Louisville Visual Art Association during the days, including being one of the hosts of PUBLIC on ARTxFM, but spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. His work has appeared in Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for[/box_light]