7:10am Thursday 9th December 2010
By Emma Palmer
WOULD I go back to the Thameside Theatre in Grays to watch this year’s festive offering _ oh yes I would!
Panto Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood hits the bullseye, just like one of the hero’s trusty arrows.
The show is action-packed with traditional panto merriment with plenty of booing at the baddies, cheering the hero Robin and clapping along to the catchy musical numbers.
Despite the obvious problems with rehearsing due to the weather – and one of their lead actors pulling out at the last minute – the cast pulled off a great performance on Saturday night at the Orsett Road venue.
They say there’s nothing like a Dame and Mark Siney, who plays Nurse Glucose, is a riot with his slapstick one liners and commanding stage prescence.
The part of the Fairy of the Forest is played wonderfully by Kim Taylforth – Gillian’s sister – despite literally having days to learn her role.
Kim stepped in at the last minute after Sarah Thomas, of BBC’s Last of the Summer Wine fame, had to pull out.
Despite the rush, Kim told me after the show she’s been “loving every minute” of the show.
All the cast, including the backing dancers, put 100 per cent into their roles, delivering some memorable numbers.
Toby Nicholls prances around the stage like the true villian as the evil Sheriff of Nottingham, while Matthew Shannon is the kids’ favourite as the Buttons-type character Smiley O’Riley.
The cast members told me after the show there are “no big egos” in the production and the way the actors have bonded so well comes across on stage, with plenty of in jokes and improvisiation.
Another surprise is a cameo appearance by Postman Pat, which caused the biggest cheer of the night.
Author Debra James has done a teriffic job in fusing tradition with modern jokes and culture in writing Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood. The panto runs until January 9. Tickets cost £12 to £17.
Call the box office on 0845 3005264.
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