Reviewed by Alex and Jayne Wiggins
THE BEST PANTOMIME I HAVE EVER SEEN! And I have seen many!
There is nothing as Christmassy as taking the children to see an annual pantomime. I have seen many over the years from extremely good Am Dram to very good professional, but this was by far the best one we have ever seen! Fast paced, exciting and funny, I came out ready for Christmas Day. My son is 12 and on the cusp of no longer wanting to go to see a panto with us, but this kept him laughing for one more year before teenagerdom takes him!
Shane Richie is hilarious as the cheeky Robin Hood. No one could have been cast better! Gina Murray as the Spirit of Sherwood, Zoe George as Maid Marion, Peter Piper as Friar Tuck were all perfect. Pete Gallagher was charmingly nasty as The Sheriff of Nottingham and read his audience well, Jamie Kenna was funny as the bumbling Little John and Michael Quinn was charming as Will Scarlet. Alan McHugh’s script is contemporary, fast and witty, using all the great panto gags of local knowledge and small nods to the local area. The dancers were a great addition and served a purpose! Unlike some pantos where the dancers are used as time fillers, these dancers were part of the script and served the show well. The young dancers showed perfect timing and interacted to perfection with the rest of the cast.
With everything a good panto should have in abundance – we had the dames briefly, ‘it’s behind you’, farce, mistakes, the obligatory funny song, ‘oh no it’s not’ – but the audience were also wowed with amazing acrobats (The Acromaniacs), a memorising magician (Phil Hitchcock), a giant animatronic t-rex and then… then!!! The second act gave me something I have never seen which left my son speechless! When we were instructed to put our 3D glasses on the audience came alive! Instead of the terrified screams often heard from the audience whenever the baddie is on stage, these were excited, slightly nervous but shocked screams of children amazed to see giant spiders jump at them, swamp snakes and monsters sneak up to them, and eyes stare at them as we took a magical journey through the terrifying forest! THIS WAS A GAME CHANGER!
If you see one panto in your life let it be this! If your children are on the edge of becoming too old, see this! If you are an avid panto fan, see this! JUST SEE IT!
Tickets cost from £14 to £50.50 (plus £3.65 transaction fee).
Robin Hood is at Milton Keynes Theatre from 8 December 2018 to 13 January 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes or call the box office on 0844 8717652.
Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK9 3NZ