Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood

Date 26th January 2016
Society Bolsover Drama Group
Venue The Assembly Rooms, Bolsover
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Mick Whitehouse, Leanne Collins
Musical Director Nigel Turner
Choreographer Leanne Collins


Author: Joyce Handbury

This was a change in venue for the group for their annual pantomime. A downside of this venue is that the seating area is all on one level but is offset, I feel, by the fact that there is an actual stage which is a bonus for the performers and not having to remove the sets after each performance (as was the case in the usual venue) is a definite bonus for the Stage Crew. The audience were involved right from the start as the younger members of the cast danced and sang in the aisles on their way to the Fair at Nottingham Castle, a very brave accomplishment on their behalf. Robin Hood, in traditional pantomime manner, was superbly portrayed by Julie Clifford. She had a great rapport with both the audience and her fellow cast members and is so lively and enthusiastic she literally lights up the stage. Lyndsey Whitehouse was lovely as Maid Marion and Glenn Turner as the Sheriff of Nottingham was suitably evil, powerful and intimidating. His Henchman, Herman, was hilariously played by Chris Peck and he was so sweet as ‘Buttercup’ attired in a blonde wig and a very, very short dress! Great support came from three of Robin’s Merry Men – Peter Maddison as Friar Tuck, Ray Hall as Will Scarlett and a very funny and camp Little John as played by Paul Holland (loved the pink tights). Louise Sutton was excellent as Nurse Norah, very self-assured with such a natural talent for acting and particularly in this scenario, comedy. The Babes, Janet and John, on the night I attended were played by Olivia Jaffray and Hugo Lockwood and they were both absolutely delightful. Helping everything to be as it should be was Janet Koszegi as the Spirit of the Greenwood. There was a splendid ensemble cast of forty one playing the parts of Villagers, Soldiers and Merry Men and it was no mean feat to engage them in the action, movement and dancing on such a small stage. Two scenes stood out as worthy of mention, and they were the Schoolroom and Nursery scenes. The Schoolroom scene was a positive hoot with the main characters dressed as school children with Nurse Norah as the teacher. Friar ‘schoolboy’ Tuck led the singing of that well known song ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ which was brilliant. Poor Buttercup was blamed for everything with the inevitable ‘chastising’ - hope he/she didn’t enjoy it too much!! The Nursery scene was in itself good, but was then transformed, by the use of ultraviolet lighting, into a magical world of fairies with illuminated wands, blocks that spelt out words, flying cups and saucers etc. The whole show from start to finish was lively, entertaining and colourful with the sets, props, lighting and costumes adding the finishing touch. Congratulations to the production team and to everyone involved for this first-class production.