NICK Lane’s comic, combative revamp of Little Red Riding Hood as a courtroom drama began life in the York Theatre Royal Studio in April 2006.

York has its lupine paws all over the 2013 revival, this madly enjoyable show being directed by Pilot Theatre’s highly experienced Amanda J Smith, whose casting of Theatre Royal regular Michael Lambourne makes a journey up the A1079 pretty much compulsory.

Lambourne – he even has an animal in his surname – has a portfolio of non-human roles the size of a zoo to that name, ranging from a grasshopper to a moose, a pigeon to a camel, a snake to an organ-utan. He has played a potato too, another chip off the block.

“He is now pleased to have reached the peak of the theatrical animal kingdom as the Big Bad Wolf,” he says in his programme biography, and sure enough Lambourne makes a howling success of it.

Wolf, as he insists on calling himself to prevent any “Big Bad” prejudicial treatment, is a Wolf under pressure. He must prove his innocence in the Fairytale Court in a case brought by Little Red Riding Hood after he eats her grandmother.

In the first half, Amie Burns Walker’s assertive Little Red presents the case for the prosecution, calling on such witnesses as one of the Three Little Pigs (a nervous puppet in shades).

Post-interval, the bearded Lambourne’s furry-booted, booming-voiced Wolf mounts his supremely self-confident case for the defence, claiming he has been framed. How convincing he sounds, with a suave slickness worthy of Billy Flynn in the musical Chicago.

Part of the pleasure lies in how Burns Walker’s Miss Hood and Lambourne’s Wolf take the case very, very seriously, unlike writer Lane, who has the honourable Judge Fudge descending in puppet form in a sweetie basket. Lane also voices this surrealist character, an over-sized piece of bewigged fudge sweet of construction, but amusingly sour of mood.

Lane first “”Christmasified” this tale for Hull Truck in 2007, but aside from the It's Hard To Be A Wolf At Christmas country blues number, Christmas is a topical if non-essential tag-on, like turkey giblets, because the greater enjoyment comes from Burns Walker and Lambourne playing everyone but the judge and swapping parts to emphasise their dexterity.

They have a highly energetic rapport with each other and the audience, while Lambourne, such an irresistibly engaging physical performer, has huge fun with the mad, rapping Grandma and Little Red’s wild-man-of-the-woods father, The Woodcutter.

This character goes down particularly well, especially his inability to remember names or identity his family members unless he calls them by their clothing. Little Red Riding Hood has escaped lightly: her sister is Brown Anorak and their mother Sleeveless Windjammer.

Such is Lane’s innate sense of the daft and the memorable image, to go with his leaps of imagination and comedic anarchy to delight the adults.

The audience must play the jury, deciding whether the Wolf should walk free. Fair trial as it is, imprisoning Lambourne’s Wolf would be a crime.

Little Red Riding Hood, Hull Truck Theatre, Hull, January 4. Box office: 01482 323638 or