Reviewed by Catherine Brown
The hilarious family panto ‘Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood’ is entertaining crowds at Nottingham Playhouse throughout the Christmas period. An energetic show, with lots of traditional elements of a seasonal panto, there is something for all ages in this production by Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company written and directed by Kenneth Alan Taylor.
Inspired by the legendary tale of ‘Robin Hood’, charmingly played by Tim Frater, the main man is a loveable character outlawed by the evil Sheriff of Nottingham (Robin Kingsland) for trying to steal from the rich and give to the poor. Along with trying to rescue his love interest Maid Marian (Kelly Agredo), Robin and his friends are also tasked with preventing the murder of The Babes by the bumbling sheriff’s assistant.
Throughout the night the talented cast demonstrated excellent musical and dance ability. Familiar tunes which got the audience moving and singing along included ‘Let me entertain you’, ‘Money Money, Money’ and ‘We will rock you’. For the youngsters there was an energetic version of ‘Baby Shark’ and plenty of audience interaction. The biggest cheers and giggles of the night were for Nurse Nelly Noggins (John Elkington) however high praise should also go to Darren Southworth as Arnold whose lines and comedy timing were played to perfection.
The set designer had a challenging task to recreate castles and forests but they did a superb job of transforming the stage into a sparkling fairy-tale setting. The costumes and props were also impressive, and even the orchestra were dressed up! They comprised four musicians who worked tirelessly to maintain the energy of the performers. Vocals were especially strong from Kelly Edwards, playing Robin’s friend Milly, who did a great job of duping the Sheriff into thinking she was an operatic performer.
Celebrating 70 years in the city, the Nottingham Playhouse is in a central area with plenty of parking or public transport routes nearby. I enjoyed a pre-show meal in the restaurant ‘Cast’ where the staff are warm and welcoming. The bar is a comfortable place to have a glass of wine or hot drink, while the main foyer also served a variety of drinks and snacks.
‘Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood’ is a spectacular success, clearly evident when so many audience members joined in to sing the final song ‘Underneath the spreading chestnut tree’. It would be the perfect show to take younger family members to for their first theatre experience.
Tickets cost from £23.50 to £40 (booking fees may apply).
Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood is at the Nottingham Playhouse from 30 November 2018 to 19 January 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk or call the box office on 0115 941 9419.
Nottingham Playhouse, Wellington Circus, Nottingham, NG1 5AF | 0115 941 9419