Robson Carew and the Pirates of Crimdon Dene

Date 18th January 2020
Society Washington Theatre Group
Venue Washington Arts Centre
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Marie Lovell
Musical Director Matthew Lowe
Choreographer Rachel Neill and Trish Robson
Producer Danny Stones


Author: Foster Johnson

Washington Theatre Group always comes up with something new and innovative when it comes to staging their annual pantomimes. This year was no exception with their rendition of “Robson Carew and the Pirates of Crimdon Dene”  Faced with stiff competition from societies in the region they are never afraid to take up the challenge in offering a different approach to the genre and once again it paid off for them.  In a theatrical space that in itself confines and limits them to what they can stage they treated a full house to a lovely night’s entertainment.

Devised and written by the membership of the Society itself, with no small input from Director Marie Lovell who clearly has a very good understanding of the “product,” it tells the tale of one of the local landed gentry Robson Carew, (a cleverly under stated role by Nigel Judson) who is down on his luck and in search of his family’s long lost treasure. As in all good pantomimes he is faced by his evil nemesis this time in the shape of his brother Seaton Carew who has eyes on the family estate. In this role Calum Murray was outstanding. Enlisting the aid of Captain Hogwash (Peter Wilson as good as ever) and his Crew who he believes are normal seafarers and not pirates he sets sail to recover the treasure without realising that the accident prone and ham fisted piratical gang are set on robbery. With him on his journey we have the usual panto characters, the Dame in the guise of his nanny and housekeeper Barely Murray an over the top and well played character by Michael Tetchner and “manservant” Bob played well a la Blackadder by Clare Rycroft. Adding to the mix we had Pamela Elliott as the Friday character well presented as an island dinner lady, Rachel Neill as the good enchantress Tia Maria and Danny Stones who gave a whimsical and highly interpretive performance as Rhys the monkey.

Completing the line up was the cast ensemble of sailors and pirates who kept the show rolling along especially in the ever enjoyable audience participation sections. No pantomime would be complete without the dancers.  This was no exception and the young performers from the Trish and Trina Dance School were a delight to witness. Behind every good show is a good crew and in this case the Production Crew , which included sets, musical direction, costumes, props, lighting and sound are indeed worthy of a mention.

Finally as mentioned at the start of the review the limitations of space make life difficult to stage a show.  The Group overcame this by the use of a super video which depicted the search by the cast for the buried treasure and was shot a la Keystone Cops outside the theatre and on the beach at Crimdon Dene, hence the show title. Nigel Judson was the man behind the camera but well done to those who participated in the footage