New Victoria Theatre, Woking – until 7 January 2017
The theatre’s latest pantomime has plenty to entertain including acrobatics and magic tricks in this lively retelling of Robin Hood. This is not a pantomime that holds back. Want amazing acrobatics? Check! Love a bit of magic? Check! In need of a laugh? You will certainly get plenty of those in this entertaining production of Robin Hood.
Robin Hood and his gang of merry men are on a quest to rescue Maid Marion and retrieve the golden arrow from the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham – with plenty of fun along the way of course but can the heroes defeat him before King Richard returns?
Directed by Ian Talbot, this latest pantomime at the New Victoria Theatre has a great sense of fun and humour about it, really having ‘family entertainment’ written all over it as well as a few unexpected surprises that make it one of the most elaborate pantomimes I have seen at the theatre.
It has to be said though the story of Robin Hood feels a bit empty in contrast with other pantomimes such as Aladdin and Cinderella for example, which have plenty of set pieces to look out for in contrast to Robin Hood which only has one main objective that doesn’t have as many plot twists as other stories.
This means the quality of scenes can seem to be filled with ‘filler’ moments – despite the entertainment factor for example the merry men practising their circus acrobatics or The Spirit of Sherwood singing while Merlin performs magic tricks, which are fabulous to watch but don’t quite push the story forward enough.
However, the production does boast a solid cast led by Shane Ritchie as Robin Hood himself. Ritchie is suitably playful and likeable as the character – never taking himself too seriously at any point with great interaction with the audience. He also has great chemistry with Peter Pier who as Friar Tuck is great at giving Ritchie someone to bounce off with great humour, their playful banter being a great strength of the production.
Meanwhile, Pete Gallagher as the evil Sheriff of Nottingham received a great reaction from the audience as he encouraged them to boo as much as they wanted – but felt slightly underused in the production as a whole. Ashleigh Gray as the Spirit of Sherwood deserved more stage time but is suitably magical enough vocally and is delightful to watch.
Overall, this is a great family pantomime with plenty to entertain the young and the old, with the surprises adding something extra special and different. Worth a watch.