Monday, 20 September 2021

Calendar ranges from wolves to West End

A MODERN version of Little Red Riding Hood was performed to an audience of about 100 for this year’s Living Advent Calendar.

A MODERN version of Little Red Riding Hood was performed to an audience of about 100 for this year’s Living Advent Calendar.

Fifty-seven people from the Acorn Music Theatre Company took part in the show at The Henley College on Tuesday, the 17th evening of entertainment for this year’s calendar.

The dramatic story, entitled The Lonesome Wolf And The Fearsome Girl, was about wicked wolves and ferocious girls and set to original music inspired by Angela Carter, who co-wrote the film The Company of Wolves.

Stella Day De Nieto took the role of Red Riding Hood, Rebecca Hughes was the Big Bad Wolf and Annie Moberly, Holly Harrison and Lucia Ferguson played the Three Little Pigs. The youngest performer was aged eight.

The story was narrated by singer-songwriter Toby Marlow, who had performed on his own on the fourth night of the calendar.

Artistic director Gail Rosier said: “There are several Little Red Riding Hood stories so we had to smash it up a bit. In the summer we all went down to Devon and performed in a barn. We devised the whole piece based on Little Red Riding Hood and wolf stories by Angela Carter. All the music was written by Katie Moberly and Toby Marlow and the musicians working together.”

Ms Rosier said it was an honour to be asked to take part in the award-winning calendar.

“What’s not to love about it?,” she said. “It is the best marriage of everything — business and performance.”

Last Friday, the Reading Accordion Group played a medley of Christmas carols and songs from the balcony at the Hub offices in Station Road.The previous evening the cast of the Kenton Theatre’s Christmas pantomime, Aladdin, performed at Enterprise Park.

James Clifford, who plays the title role, introduced the princess, whom he described as a “lovely little lady”. He told the audience that he would like to kiss her, adding: “Do you think she’d like that?” Some of the parents replied “No!”

The princess then introduced her friends Sushi, Feng Shui, Origami and Karaoke and together they performed River Deep Mountain High.

Aladdin then encouraged the crowd to shout “Genie” to encourage the character, played by Rochelle Parry, and the Slave of the Ring to appear. The trio then sang I’ll Be There For You, the theme song from Friends.

On Saturday, Emma-Jane Taylor’s tap dancers performed at the Henley Youth Centre. They danced to two Rodgers and Hammerstein numbers, Kansas City and The Farmer and the Cowman, both from Oklahoma, as well as One from A Chorus Line.

The dancers wore chequered shirts and cowboy hats for the first two songs then whipped them off to reveal black outfits for the final performance.

Ms Taylor said: “We were well received by lovely warm faces. The calendar is a great idea as Henley comes together.”

On Sunday, the Henley Aliquando Choir performed at the Bull pub in Bell Street.

They sang three songs, Light the Christmas Candle, Silver Bells and an arrangement of Ding Dong Merrily on High written by musical director Anne Evans. Mrs Evans said: “I was teaching at a convent school in Kenya in 1979 and wrote it for the children. I was looking through my music when I found my manuscript. I just adapted it to suit the four-part harmonies. The men sang the ‘ding-dong’ bits.”

The choir was accompanied by Mrs Evans’ husband Dan on guitar while Jan French read a poem called Christmas Dinner by Michael Rosen.

On Monday, Abbey Norman, Kate Skellern and Katy Anderson — alias Some Swell Sisters — wore polka dot dresses as they performed songs including In The Mood, Mele Kalikimaka and White Christmas at Hotel du Vin in New Street.

Tonight’s calendar performance (Friday) is at Lovibonds in Market Place. The acts will then appear at venues as follows: December 21 and 22 Market Place; 23 Kenton Theatre, New Street; 24 St Mary’s Church.

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