I was invited to Press Night of Robin Hood & the Babes in the Wood Panto at The Roses Theatre Tewkesbury – written and directed by Ben Crocker and sponsored by Peter Ball & Co Estate Agents.
This year the Roses Theatre Panto was their best performance I have seen in the time I have been visiting. Traditional panto with modern twists and scenery, costumes, sound and lighting effects – which made me feel more like I was back at The West End rather than in Tewkesbury. Sadly it is the last Panto for The Roses director Deborah Rees but definitely out on a high ad one she can be very proud of the Roses Theatre.
About Robin Hood & the Babes in the Wood
The story tells the story of Robin Hood (Matt Beveridge) and how he stole from the rich to give to the poor (a very popular part of the play as whenever it was mentioned Haribos came flying out into the audience!). That whilst trying to stop the Sheriff of Nottingham (Jeffrey Harmer) from stealing from the poor, marrying Maid Marion (Rachael Henley), and winning a silver arrow Robin Hood finds himself captured as his disguise as a Scottish man is foiled. But have no fear he is saved by his friends Friar Tuck (Ben Eagle) and Little Joan (Charlotte Chalkey). Meanwhile the Sheriff is also trying to kill off his niece (Holly Cox) and nephew (Anna Kosinska) for his brother’s inheritance.
Robin Hood & the Babes in the Wood Production at The Roses Theatre
The story of Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood is told through two Acts, which are each split into six scenes. Each scene has its own fantastic songs – including adaptations of ones we all know and love such as Tragedy (Destiny); plus a favourite especially with the children in the audience was Can’t Stop the Feeling/The Loving Tree – from the recent Trolls movie. Interestingly the Robin Hood song only gets a one line appearance (and done in a comic way). As I say the scenery, lighting and effects were fantastic and very quickly and professionally changed (I especially thought this after an act where the floor got wet).
The story was very well-written and I particularly liked the nods to the local area (such as mentioning the local public house The Albion). It was filled with various forms of humour; Subtle adult humour (such as mentioning a strap-on!); childish humour – such as the Sheriff of Nottingham calling Dennis (Michael Watson-Gray) a poopy-head; slapstick (such as “accidently” keep on bashing Robin Hood with the door and being covered in soap suds); knowing humour (such as Winnie Widebottom making reference to the fact that she isn’t a man (and we all obviously know that J.J.Henry who plays her is indeed a man) and not forgetting the use of the rabbit puppets.
Robin Hood & the Babes in the Wood Audience Participation
One of the great things about a Panto is the audience participation – suitable for the whole family. Obviously the characters are directly talking to the audience and I have already mentioned the distribution of Haribos. Then there is the classic Panto interaction – the dame finding a good looking man in the audience; the baddie to boo at; chanting of oh yes it is; oh no it isn’t and so on; acknowledging who was visiting and any birthdays (with a special touch of bringing Anna Kosinska (one of the Babes from the Chorus) out onto the stage for everyone to sing happy birthday to her); children going up on to the stage (to help be the orchestra for I am the music man) – and additional touches was needing a solicitor from the audience to help and definitely the use of rocks for the audience to throw on stage (and a big boulder!)
Robin Hood & the Babes in the Wood Cast
The whole cast were extremely talented and I honestly could not single one of them out. They all had fantastic voices and the choreography (choreographed by Nicola Miles) was performed well – I especially enjoyed the sword fights! They looked fantastic in their costumes (Lou Tring – Wardrobe Mistress) and changes happened so quickly. I was really impressed with J.J.Henry’s ability to walk in heels and loved the glittery glamorous outfits of the final act especially.I would once again like to give the Chorus a special mention as these girls are only ages 8-16 years old and once again have done a fantastic job! They do not have long to learn their parts and they have to perhaps stay up later than they normally would on same evenings. The Chorus is split into two so that they do not have to attend every performance – the Bows and the Arrows. Our performance was with the Bows for Press night. Some of the girls I recognised from previous Pantos it is amazing to watch how they have grown as actors. Thanks to the Production Team – Andy Allpass (Musical Director), Steve Crickett (Percussion), Rob South (Production and Company Manager) and James Lisk (Deputy Stage Manager). Plus all the many Volunteers, Trustees, Administrators, Technical, Front of House, Patrons & Benefactors and Business Patrons.
I am going to take part in the Tewkesbury Half Marathon as part of The Roses Team in May 2017. I am so out of practise and struggling to do 5K currently and would appreciate any support please. You can sponsor me HERE. Many thanks.
Robin Hood & the Babes in the Wood at The Roses Theatre Tewkesbury is definitely worth a visit this year with performances running up to Saturday 7th January 2017. There is even a Relaxed Performance on Wednesday 4th January 2017 (see more on Relaxed Performances)
- The Roses Theatre, Sun Street, Tewkesbury, Glos, GL20 5NX
- Box Office 01684 295074
I received 2 complimentary tickets to the performance and a programme. All opinions are honest and my own.