Robin Hood

Date 17th December 2021
Society Danbury Players
Venue Danbury Village Hall
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Jenny Tyler and Gary Jarvis

Report

Author: Katherine Tokley

Robin Hood

Performed by The Danbury Players

Friday 17th December 2021

Directed by Jenny Tyler and Gary Jarvis

 

With a bang of pyrotechnics met with a squeal of a young Brownie Pack in the audience, the stage burst into life with Fairies Britannia and Victoria in all their twinkling glory drifting onto the stage. Caroline Bradley and Lydia Rose proved as reassuring guides through the predicted chaos of a Christmas Panto, providing narrative and witty banter with a long term hankering for a nice cup of tea. 

The set was a surprising yet very good quality backdrop of a cobblestone street, adversely delivered to the theatre instead of Sherwood Forest, but hey, it's theatre, anything can happen.

The entrance of The Sheriff of Nottingham was met with barrage of boos and hisses. The Sheriff was ably performed with gleeful malice by Al Pitcher, who embodied the classic character with gusto and presence, trailed by his long suffering and slightly dippy henchmen Guy and Gal, played by Alexander Owers and Chloe Horrex. Guy and Gal found their feet more comfortably as the action moved on. The topical and local references were spot on, and drew the audience in enough to heckle the actors, which in these circumstances lets you know you are onto a winner.

Will Scarlett, played by Andy West, was equally light-footed and light hearted, with a twinkle in his eye and enough charisma to charm the crowd and Red-Riding Hood, who ribbed him on his choice of red. Played by Sophie Holmes, she was every bit the starlett you would expect Riding Hood to be, and unusually (or little known!) the sister to Robin Hood, played by Paris Bone. Again, as the action moved on, Robin found his (or her) feet, and with the band of Merry Men gathering around him (or her), momentum gathered and she (or he) became the Robin Hood we expected to see, leading the action and being the brave hero, taking a stand against the Sheriff to win the hand of Maid Marion and the favour of King Richard. Maid Marion, played by Charlotte Vickers was a perfect damsel in distress, drifting in a flowing gown, flowers in her hair and pining for her Robin Hood. 

Nurse Nancy, the dame, played by Danny Gillingham, was a great juxtaposition of masculinity and lace. However, I always think you can never have too much of an outrageous character and dress. The more the merrier. His song, Whatever Happened To My Part (lovingly ripped off from Spamalot) was great though, with a cheeky nod to awards yet to be won!

It is difficult to credit each and every actor in this huge cast, who all pulled together well in this ambitious script, but particular mention must go to the youngsters who were as disciplined and tight as any other group of children I have seen on the stage. Each knew their place, were confident, and delivered their lines with flair. 

There were some lovely musical numbers in this production, and simple but well delivered choreography, provided by Zoe Chivers. The set and scene changes were very quick, especially considering the quick costume changes and number of performers. I liked the backdrops; really, crisp images and lovely quality, but I felt at times the cast could have done with a bit more room to fill the stage. 

On the technical side, I was very impressed with the lighting, sound effects and cues (the odd slip of a button was quickly forgiven) and the transformation of Guy into the wolf in the projection was a great sequence. The lift scene was also a nice touch. 

Costumes were surprisingly sourced by the cast and crew, not an easy feat for a panto, but were great and worked together well as an ensemble. 

The Danbury Players, despite the difficulty of putting on a production in these muddled times, gave the audience an entertaining and warm night out, and filled the hall with festive cheer. Thank you for a lovely evening.