Robin Hood and The Babes in the Wood

Date 12th December 2014
Society Riverside Musical Theatre Company
Venue Park View Theatre, Chester-le-Street
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Sheila Rouse
Musical Director Tim Jasper
Choreographer Sheila Rouse


Author: Michelle Coulson

Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood has become one of the favourite family pantomimes and the children (and adults) in the audience of this production certainly enjoyed the all the fun and antics of Robin Hood and the other residents of Nottingham.  The set was simple, but appropriately portrayed the scenes. There were some good costumes, and the issues with sound at the beginning of the performance were eventually sorted out.

The comedy antics were well led by Kevin Thornhill as the Dame, Nurse Nora, as she tried to protect the babes from the clutches of the Sheriff’s henchman Herman, played by Mavis Thornhill. Mavis, together with Susan Thomas and Stephen Shield as Floggem and Whippem, gave lots of opportunities for laughs as they failed in their mission to support the Sheriff.

Jenn Rous, as Robin Hood, gave a confident and competent performance, and was well supported by Catherine Hillam as a charming Maid Marian. There was also good support from Julie Laws, Catherine Rouse, Angela Marvin and Sarah Hamblett as the band of merry men who helped Robin to protect the babes Janet & John. The Babes on the evening I attended were played by Eve Brownlee and Anya Harnett who both gave enjoyable performances.

No panto would be complete without the baddies, and this panto had two to test out the “booing” skills. Nell Nightshade, the evil witch who was using the Sheriff of Nottingham to seek her revenge on the family of Robin Hood, was well played by Larraine Clark, and Peter Johnson was excellent as the Sheriff. He obviously revelled in being the baddie and getting the audience to respond (very loudly) to his dastardly deeds.

There was an enjoyable mix of musical choices including some good chorus numbers, and also opportunities for the younger members of the cast to shine and they were charming. I would like to congratulate Lynn Chapman who, at only a couple of hours’ notice, had to step into the role of the Spirit of the Forest. She did extremely well.

After the show I was honoured to be asked to present a long service award for 35 years to Roy Rouse. Thank you, and congratulations.