Robin Hood – a Pantomime

‘Robin Hood: A Pantomime’ is a traditional style panto, with a very funny script by Bristol playwright, Tracy Rogers. Tracy who is in a theatre group, has been writing now for 10 years. Her storyline has love, granddad jokes, excitement and of course, singing and dancing. An extremely funny version of the traditional story of Robin Hood and his merry men.

This two-and-a-half-hour presentation has its Opening Night Friday 26th February 7.30 pm and runs until Saturday 20th March 2021. There are Sunday matinées at 2.00 pm on 28th February 7th and 14th March. There are VERY few tickets left due to COVID limitations. Wednesday nights have a handful of seats, so be quick!

The show is in the comfortable Marloo Theatre, 20 Marloo Road, Greenmount.

Set designer was Luke Miller, who was aided by his wife, Shelly Miller. There were about two dozen set builders who have done a superb job with limestone pillars and rough-barked tree trunks. A couple of rustic loos, a glowing campfire, a well and an archery target on a stand awaiting a longbow contest.

Scenic artist Molly Gilchrist brought life to the scenery. An arrow was ‘fired’ at a notice stuck on the well. With the soundscape from Guy Jackson and operated by James Bell, you could hear the arrow in flight before it hit the well’s roof. A clever and split-second trick effect. The technical assistant was Chelsea Cook.

The well selected projection background scenes of landscapes and indoors were the work of Luke Miller.

Stage Manager, Rachel Vonk and her Assistant Stage Manager, Rebecca McRae had an active and well organised crew including Monique Beesley, Rob Hennighan, Guy Jackson, Luke van der Beeke, Connie Wetherilt and Sarah Zuiddam

The full selection of fine Mediaeval Properties was supplied by Lesley Sutton.

The effective lighting design and operation were by Lachlan Kessey and Bailey Fellows, with co-ordination by Shelly Miller. Tegan Leggett and Timothy Zuiddam smoothly operated the follow spotlights.

                Two poverty-stricken village mothers (Barbara Lovell, Amanda Moloney) are sitting at the roadside with their starving children (Felix Steinwandel, Mia Fellows, Rhona Hough, Zac Moloney) when the Sherriff of Nottingham (Chris McRae – last minute replacement, superb) arrives with his main tax collector, Guy of Gisborne (Aaron Lucas, great). The poor people have nothing left to give; so, the Sherriff calls upon his dim-witted thugs Norman Smith (Suzy June Wakeling) and Norman Jones (Chloe van der Beeke) to threaten them more.

                Walking through the woods is the beautiful Maid Marion (Olivia Fellows, graceful) and her rough as guts, lady in waiting Bess Before (Ryan Perrin – an amazing traditional pantomime dame). Bess has been looking for a husband all of her life, if it is male and moves, she is interested. In Sherwood Forest is Robin Hood (Luke Osborne stepping in brilliantly at the last minute) and Robin’s group of outlaws determined to get money back from the Sherriff and return it to the poor.

The Merry men Friar Tuck (Peter Cross), Little John (Oscar Uetake), Alan A’Dale (Bailey O’Hehir), Will Scarlet (Luke Miller), Much (Rob McConnell) and Squire (Kody Fellows) are fighting for King Richard (Steve Moloney) against the pampered young prince, Prince John (Jackson Lucas).

                The arrival of the Sherriff is announced by his Court Jester (Harrison Ricci) and his out of tune Royal Trumpeter (Keaton Humphreys – he had to try hard to be bad). After one or two near misses by arrows from the Sherriff’s men, Robin decides to enter an archery contest against Arthur the Archer (David Bell) and Sir Stephen Sureshot (Locklen Falkingham). Marion seeks help from the magical Lady of Sherwood (Sophie David – delightful) and her enchanting dancers Ava Carbery, Caitlyn Moloney, Harrison Ricci, Lilly Miller, Natalia Smith, Peyton Lawrence, Renae Hoskins, Sage Lockyer and Sophie Hennighan.

                Robin meets the three witches of the forest, Hubble (Victoria Abbott), Bubble (Shelly Miller) and Trouble (Belinda Beatty) beautiful, smiling but highly dangerous.

Director Guy Jackson has filled the show with life. So many scriptwriters and directors forget that pantos should be fun, for children and therefore hammed up a little. This is a great script and the whole cast were well rehearsed and genuinely seemed to be loving every minute. The vivacious dancers being choreographed by Ebony Uetake, and her assistant chorographer Sophie David. The dance captain was Natalia Smith. The routines were quite complex and novel, but the youngsters – from as young as seven with many on stage for the first time did not miss a beat.

Musical director Chris McRae, who bravely multitasked as the Sherriff, had a great beat to the music. The children sang well, in tune and remembering the words, but because of their size had trouble projecting, their enthusiasm will get them there. With Bailey O’Hehir’s beautiful voice, smiling and warmth he was a show favourite.

Costume manager Marjorie DeCaux was assisted by Lynda Stubbs and with wardrobe assistants Amanda Moloney, Anna Wright, Evone Miller, Tobi Galley, Kylie Barr, Gill Lee, Angela Gerrish, Rebecca Bev, Shelly Miller, Tracy Vonk and Rachel Vonk gave us a huge range of costumes from rags to sumptuous riches.

This is a top rate panto with a cast of ‘thousands’.