NODA on Robin Hood

“ample opportunity for plenty of local references and causing much mirth around the auditorium.”

“a super traditional panto… managing to give the occasional wink of modern life and humour.”

Read the full review here:

In this their 40th Anniversary year this talented company produced a super traditional panto while, as highlighted in the programme, managing to give the occasional wink of modern life and humour.

As usual the production team managed to “bring in” the wide space at the venue when needed while using the width cunningly for the archery competition!

The small but effective band DSL set the tone for what was to come  with a lively musical intro, strongly  featuring the well known “Robin Hood” theme tune which encouraged the audience to clap along straight away.

The action in this especially written script had been relocated from Nottingham to East Devon giving ample opportunity for plenty of local references and causing much mirth around the auditorium.  While the story highlighted issues still relevant today, the key panto traditions were adhered to. The “gender swapping” with women in disguise as the Merry Men made for great fun, and of course in this production Maid Marian was certainly not shy and retiring!

Fairy Fern, dressed in an attractive leafy green costume, confidently started off proceedings followed by a strong opening number featuring a large chorus with a delightful mix of adults and youngsters and an eye-catching troupe of talented dancers.

The Sherriff of Honiton made the perfect villain of the piece, this performer always has wonderful expressions and can change the nuance of a  line with just one twitch of an eyebrow! He was “ably” assisted along the way, with his plans to desecrate the countryside and make way for his “state of the art” power station, by a young, and endearingly performed, Sir Guy of Gittisham. 

Robin, played in this production by a young man, was the perfect hero and well accompanied by a  feisty Marian – a strong singer and excellent dancer.

Two young performers made a bubbly pair as Jack and Billie, the “babes” of the piece, forever giving everyone the run around, they seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely! Of course, they needed a Nanny to keep them out of the Sherrif’s “hair” and who better than Robin’s Mum – Motherhood!

This was the first time for this performer in the role of Dame and he did very well, quickly getting the audience on his side, particularly bonding with Russell on this occasion, and  not going over the top, he was very much a “bloke in a frock,” and what stunning frocks they were! 

There was a good mix of  “Merrymen,” and all were well played the girls bringing out their individual characters from the start, they made a great band. 

Act II opened with a terrific chorus rendition of “Eye of a Tiger,” the archery competition was very well handled with arrows whizzing here there and everywhere, and the fight scene impressively performed, and of course King Richard arrived on time to save the day!

There were many memorable moments in this production. The alternative “ghost scene” in the bedroom with the revolving doors was great fun, the “skeleton in the closet” excellently performed and the temperamental bedside lamps a clever touch!

The costumes were just right and well-co-ordinated, the market stalls certainly set the scene at the beginning, and the hobby horse with accompanying galloping coconuts hilarious.  

The dancing was simply top notch throughout, with great movement and co-ordinated choreography, the little skeletons were very sweet. 

The songs, with perfect musical accompaniment, fitted with the storyline and were all well performed and not too long, with the “Girls,” the “Power of Love” and the Sheriff’s rendition of “I Am the One & Only,” segueing into “Simply the Best,” standing out. 

Of course, there had to be an audience participation song and on this occasion “Robin Hood” was the perfect choice getting the audience to their feet and performing all the actions!

This young Creative Team did exceptionally well to produce a well-paced and enjoyable panto which was very warmly received by the first night audience. Efficient backstage support was strongly evident  and from all the names listed in the programme, wardrobe, chaperones, set, front of house etc. it was clear that a tremendous amount of hard work and preparation had gone on behind the scenes to ensure a well-oiled and smooth-running  ship. Most certainly all making for an inclusive and a very happy one! Great fun! Well done!  

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