Robin Hood & the Babes in the Wood
20th January 2018
Spotlight Theatre, Broxbourne
Type of Production
Author: Nova Horley
A nicely presented opening number set us up to an enjoyable pantomime, with some good performances.
I liked the pre-show and interval ‘liveners’ from the cast, which also helped to get the audience engaged and in the mood.
The set was good, always difficult to fill such a wide stage – but it all worked well.
I felt the music choices were a little on the safe side, and some of the more serious numbers were a little too long – I was aware of the younger members of the audience getting a bit fidgety – I feel that panto songs should be kept short and snappy. It’s always nice to hear a selection of songs, but some were very old hat! That said, the sound balance between stage and pit was very good, however there were a couple of instances when the mics were not turned up in good time, so we missed the start of one song, and a couple of lines of lib in other places, no excuse I feel, when we saw the second last performance of the run!
Choreography was good, it suited everyone, always difficult on that stage to space people, I would have looked at more grouping rather than straight lines to break it up a bit, but that’s personal choice.
The costumes were all very colourful and suitable, I particularly liked the youngsters costumes for the finale, and the red tunics the six tappers wore. The Dame’s costumes were outrageous, I would have liked to have seen a frilly or starched petticoat under her first dress, as it just hung, and didn’t make an impact. I also thought the ensemble ladies who were wearing men’s costumes should have had hats – everyone else had headgear, so they stood out because they didn’t.
The Jason kids performed well, they had some nice numbers, however in their tap number we could not hear them singing, it would have been nice to have a snatch of song, then the tap, to get the benefit of the undoubted charm of these youngsters.
I loved the Babes, Francesca Ciraolo and Emily Ripley at the performance I attended – they both performed extremely well, with plenty of projection and expression, very well done. I am assured that the other team, Siobhan Welch and Leah Darrington performed equally as well.
Andy Kirtley brought his experience to bear with a fun Nurse Norah, good projection and interaction with the audience.
Andrew Frost was a very nasty Sheriff of Nottingham, who we all loved to hate, nicely positioned within the rest of the cast.
I liked Scott Welch as Herman the Henchman, he interacted well with the cast and the audience.
Ollie Pajak created a very camp Friar Tuck, which sat well with the character and as a contrast to the rest of the cast.
I liked the pairing of Carly McHugh and Mary Kenealy as Robin Hood and Maid Marian, they looked good together, and the numbers they performed had some very nice moments with good harmonies.
David Cousins as Little John and Hannah Frost as Will Scarlet completed the small band of outlaws, I needed a bit more conviction from them, as they tended to be overshadowed by the stronger characters.
Jenny Reynolds was a charming Spirit of the Greenwood.
Overall I enjoyed the pantomime, but felt it needed more direction and audience participation to make it a cohesive production, there was a certain lack of pace and energy at the performance I attended. However, all in all it had the elements needed for pantomime, if a little dated.
My thanks go to Mark – who looked after us really well as always.