Spring Pantomime - 'Robin Hood'
N.O.D.A. (East) Review
by Anthony Maley - Region 4 Representative
LAVENDER HILL MOB THEATRE COMPANY
Script and Lyric by Les Miles and Music and Orchestration by Tim Rock
The end of April may not be the traditional time to put on a pantomime, but for me, anytime is the right time for a good pantomime. I was therefore very much looking forward to The Lavender Hill Mob Theatre Company’s presentation of Robin Hood.
The Company (Which is in its 13th year) welcomes everybody including many with disabilities and the ensemble contains ages from preschool to post pension! The stage was nicely framed with woodland effect drapes and the use of the most vivid backdrops throughout was most effective. The show started with a flash of light as the spirit of the Forrest played by Zoe Adams set the scene. She was clear, and word perfect throughout. We were then introduced to the main characters: Robin Hood (Poppy Gilding) ; Friar Tuck (David Howard); Little John (James Hohol) ; Alan-A-Dale (Kerry Bensley); Much and Plenty Miller (Gabrielle Short and Bronwyn Dawe) and Will Scarlet (Ford Bailey). They played so well together as a group with good comic timing and Physicality, especially from Friar Tuck who created a lot of humour with his interpretation of an inebriated Monk. Maid Marian (Sophie Bush) gave a solid performance with a very nice singing voice.
Moving on to the Baddies, The Sherriff of Nottingham (Carl Smith) and his sidekick Gimp of Gisbourne (Sharon Yates) added a liberal scattering of one liners that kept the audience chuckling throughout. I must mention the Baroness Rita effortlessly played by Michael Miles as a cross between Liberace and Divine as he strode around the stage oozing malice and flamboyance in equal measures. Many pantomimes are let down by a lack-lustre chorus but, for me the supporting cast of this production were a tower of strength. Everyone was engaged, energised and enthusiastic with clear, bright singing voices. They were a pleasure to see and hear.
On that note, much credit must go to Les Miles for script and lyrics and to Tim Rock for music and orchestration aided by excellent choreography from Michaela Dawe. The audience were quickly singing and clapping along as the original songs were foot tapping gems.
Overall there was a real sense of community and family in this production and the joy that was obviously felt by the cast as they performed spilt out over the stage and quickly infected the audience. This was never more evident than in the final scene where the entire cast reprieved several songs and then sung and signed “Standing proud, standing tall”
A big well done to all involved in the production, you should all be proud of what you have achieved