The Adventures of Robin Hood

Date 15th January 2022
Society Woodchurch Players
Venue Woodchurch Village Hall
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Emma Priest
Choreographer Kim Parmee
Written By Bradford & Webster

Report

Author: Anne Lawson

Happy to be back to enjoy an evening of fun from the NODA script catalogue with Robin, his Merry Men in Sherwood Forest, a romance with King Richard’s cousin Marian, the destruction of the nasty Sheriff of Nottingham, his two stupid comic Tax Collectors and sometimes evil Soothsayer. Of course, good does prevail with a little magical green sparkle from The Enchantress of the Forest. Marian’s protector,  ‘cor blimey’ flirty Nanny Nora, is an unlikely schoolteacher and Brown Owl with large assets. Costumes outrageous – loved the wig - Andy Clarke was in his element, full of energy throughout, camp and oh those lashes! Audience participation was encouraged by Much the Miller’s Son – and we soon learned our lines ‘much better Much’  Moments of chase, falling, nightmares, spiders, little insects, amazing effects and lighting, all added to the pot of a good evening’s entertainment.

The usual high standard of well painted scenery depicted a medieval Nottingham inhabited by the poor peasants, a simple classroom but with good furniture and props, interesting patterns in green lighting provided the forest, a grand castle backdrop and a clever Sheriff’s bedroom with upright bed looked most effective created by a fine team. Ladies of the wardrobe provided a colourful selection of character costumes. Loved Friar Tuck forever nibbling, an amusing touch. Dylan Bryan did a splendid job and then transformed into a very regal King Richard returning from the Crusades.

A dish to the left of the stage showed the audience the Soothsayer’s visions and blurs, with video filming having been recorded earlier by Oscar Wady when, I understand, it was pretty cold! Other effects included a lighted Enchantress with her pinging wand, a large dropping spider, an amazing crystal ball on a long staff that changed colour, very well managed by wide eyed Soothsayer Sheila Ross – a great character. Rising mists, atmospheric lighting, the projected title, the theme song of ‘Robin Hood, Robin Hood Riding through the Glen’ etc for our hero’s entry and on screen for audience sing-along with each word directed by a cameo sized Robin’s headshot. The rain of coloured paper from stage and hall. So much work, cleverly designed and created by Tim Nolan with Eliot Gannon on soundboard.

Emma Priest again directed under really difficult circumstances and did a commendable job. Kim Parmee returned as principal boy with her thigh slapping that became contagious, dressed attractively in Lincoln green playing opposite first timer to panto Catherine Sales as an elegant Marian. Kim also devised the choreography involving all the enthusiastic company. Ella Parmee and Charlotte Stevens as Nickitt and Scarper, wearing black leggings with striped socks, black jackets over white shirts and purple waistcoats were the business finished nicely with bowler hats. Their quick step entrances with leg kicks and head tilts perfected, and their dance routine was first class. Well done with the comedy timing too. We booed and hated the Sheriff  - sorry Robin Smith – who both  looked and sounded the part in black velvet crossed with gold and a fine hat. Encouraging link man James Harper was the wannabe Hero – ‘Much the Miller’s Son’  dressed in breeches, boots, carrying a satchel bag and carrying a fishing rod, topped with a splendid stovepipe hat.

Jolly taped music accompanied song and dance routines, Gregory Peters as Alan-a-Dale strummed and sang his ditties with clarity and other members of the cast who had named cameo characters confidently contributed, with the school children and babes delightful. A special mention must go to the Sandwich Board – young Miles Headling -  just loved his walk across the stage, the little wave and thumbs up! Also notable was the chorus rendition of ‘If I was not in Pantomime’ which was hilarious, so well timed – those poor people in the front rows did get a little wet with the paint brush water splashings, together with the well devised Sheriff’s ‘All Alone’ scene.