Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood
26th January 2018
Carnegie Rooms, Thetford
Type of Production
Author: Sue DuPont
A good script with traditional story from Ben Crocker and director Emma Kelly capitalised on every moment of action.
A stage filled with enthusiastic and energy high level activity in all the ‘big’ scenes, and the 14 smaller outlaws really added to the vitality with their singing and movement, how really good to encourage all these youngsters, and some so tiny, as this is the future for the town and the group. And we loved those observers of Rabbits 1 and 2 from Mya Bailey and Abigail White. And of course the Babes played by Abigail Plumley and George Cook.
But not all the talent in the under-tens as so many of the adults really worked so hard in the team to leave a great feeling of enthusiasm and enjoyment, not to mention all those talents in personality and characterisation and vocal abilities. And the adult chorus were very lively and full of voice and showed their enjoyment of participation.
As Dame, Tim Lovejoy playing Winnie Widebottom had all the correct characteristics and timing to really outdo all the comedy on stage, great in the schoolroom, excellent strip for bedtime, good repartee with all other characters, outrageous appearance, good quips and what more could one want from a dame?
In the forest, Alan-a-Dale introduced us to the tale and the characters, sang with verve and played guitar, Harry Smith definitely has a future, probably on professional stage with his personality. Friar Tuck from Phil Pearson, a regular in Thetford panto and certainly with the timing, a strong member of the gang of outlaws. Also giving a robust performance and adding her ‘four penniworth’ at full volume, Leanne White’s Little Joan a strong support and character in this story of the outlaws.
A powerful performance from Madeline Soan in the title role, what a voice and great projection (studying music at Anglia Ruskin), personality plus, and stylish looks with long legs, a sense of adventure, this is perfection in how to portray Robin Hood. And opposite her as Maid Marion, Bobbie-Jo Wilson portrayed a delightful partner, looks and good voice, so excellent duets for the romantics.
Back in the castle, the hapless servant Dennis (Jacob Bell) came over with strong personality and good deliverance, but he never had a chance against his master. And in the ‘baddy’ role played with relish and evil, delivered in great style and character to the many boos from audience, a part to fight for, Barry Bailey (having made the set) came from backstage to full accolades on stage as Sheriff of Nottingham and did he, and we, enjoy his participation? The question is, has he been struck with the bug of appearance and will they get him back to stage crew?
A great sound and beat from the band led by Jon Settle with good pace and style.
Overall this was such a happy and dynamic pantomime, well put together with the right cast, and obviously enjoyed by all on stage and in the audience, people just did not want it to finish!