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Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood

It’s that time of year again. Oh yes, it is. Christmas is “behind you” and it’s Panto Season!!

All Saints have elected to fuse the classic Babes In The Wood with a Robin Hood story. Written and directed by Phil Vivian, it is classic, hard working, amateur society fayre and it has all the energy you would hope for and expect from All Saints.

You know the Robin Hood story, right? Locksley, Sherwood Forest, Merry Men, Marian, Sheriff, all that; well, add to that a couple of young children under threat from the baddie, and you’ve got your fusion right there.

You need your principal boy. Robin Hood is well furnished by Kerrie Goodenough, replete with thigh slapping to help you know she’s playing a chap. There’s your damsel, Maid Marian, lovely singing and presence from Lucy Dearlove. Not forgetting the servant type (think Buttons meets Court Jester), for which we have Chester (Cheer Up!!) played by Andrew Helson. His job is to give the kids someone to root for, to go “aaaah” at and to love, and he does it very well with a superb singing voice in his solo bits.

Now you need your baddie. Well, the Robin Hood story gives us that in the shape of the Sheriff of Nottingham; John Sivewright laps up the boos and hisses with a sinister glare and great presence. You need your Dame; Jon Cockeram gives a grotesquely glamorous, Scottish spin to Nurse Nessie with fabulous make up, outrageous dresses, hair to die (or kill someone) for, flirting, scene stealing, energy, the whole bit. Well done, fella… erm… chick…

With Nessie comes the Babes in her charge, Jennifer and Jeremy. Bea Littlewood and Jack Tarling are superb young performers and will definitely be ones to watch in the years to come. Stage naturals, the pair of them, and, if I could hear popping in the audience or backstage, it would have been their parents bursting with pride, and rightly so.

The choruses are full of great singers, the musical direction from Thomas Arnold really shone and the dancers were very, very well timed and looked fantastic. Choreographer Josie Camble clearly knows her stuff, as do the dancers, with the complex movement around the action really coming together nicely.

I usually like to mention as many of the performers as I can by name in a review, but there are so many of you. Suffice to say that if you are in this, then it was clear to me that you have put a lot of work and energy into making this work and giving the near capacity audience something to clap, cheer, boo, hiss and shout out about. If you’re in this, there’s your mention right there. Well done, all.

Finally, a word about the costumes. Outstanding. The look and feel of each one appears to have been crafted with an exacting hand, or, more likely, hands!!

Further performances:

Sunday 5 January at 2:00pm

Thursday 9 January at 7:30pm

Friday 10 January at 7:30pm

Saturday 11 January at 2:00pm and 7:00pm