As far as pantos go, Robin Hood and the Babes In The Wood certainly ticks all the boxes. With farcical one-liners, side-splitting silliness and a nonsensical story line – Nottingham Playhouse have created a winner for the festive season.
This is obviously the right city for Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood to be performed and I have no doubt this is a huge pull. The script roughly follows the well loved legend of the renowned Sherwood Forest outlaw but with an extra added twist – he now also has to save the Sheriff’s two innocent young nieces from their greedy money-grabbing uncle. Of course, this is all good harmless fun and the additional story line is only there to create the vital ‘good versus bad’ sub plot every pantomime needs.
The Nottingham panto is almost as set in stone as the mythical character himself and writer, Kenneth Alan Taylor, has successfully created an aptly chosen family performance that is proving itself to be yet another winner. The seriously silly characters, in particular the dim but lovable ‘Arnold’ (Darren Southworth), slapstick shenanigans mixed with a huge dose of audience participation and sing-a-long tunes, the odd rap along with some seriously well choreographed dance routines, results in a rip-roaring show. Oh yes it does!
Although it initially takes a little bit to get going, by the end of the first half this ‘big show’ production more than finds its feet leading into the interval with a tongue twisting rap, a frantically fast costume changing dame in the form of Nurse Nelly Noggins, and a raucous Robbie Williams rendition of ‘Let Me Entertain You’ that leaves the younger members of the audience on their feet and shouting for more.
The lack of initial speedy momentum is soon forgotten in the second half when the characters seem to relax a little and everything you would expect comes flying in at a frantic pace. There’s a ridiculously funny Ghostbusters ‘It’s behind you’ sequence, a slo-mo chase and a hilarious, ‘found just in time’ game of hide and seek – the comical capers are endless.
Kids are delighted when the explosive water guns come out and don’t hesitate to join in with the numerous sing alongs, in particular the favourite of the year ‘Baby Shark’ but are just as enthusiastic as the whole theatre raise their arms in appreciations for Queen’s iconic Radio Ga Ga.
Special mention must go to leading man, aka Robin Hood, played brilliantly by Tim Frater, who naturally engages the audience, not only as the locally loved hero, but also as a compère, and to top it off he can really sing – his extraordinary voice fills the theatre with ease. And it’s this quality, mixed with a huge amount of fun, that won’t fail to enthral young and old alike throughout this Christmas period.
Title: Robin Hood and the Babes In The Wood Cast: Kinden Singh Uppal, Clarice Julianda, Darren Southworth, Tim Frater, Adam Pettigrew, Rebecca Little, Kelly Edwards, Kelly Agredo, John Elkington, Robin Kingsland The Babes: Felix Findlay, Blaise Bondswell, Kacia Wilson, Mya Matthews, Evie-Grace Brailsford, Ruby Hardy Director & Writer: Kenneth Alan Taylor Venue: Nottingham Playhouse Duration: 2 hours 20 mins (including interval) Dates: November 30th 2018 – January 19th 2019 Tickets: www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk