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Robin Hood at Theatre Royal Stratford East – Review

Oliver Wellington (Robin), Ashley Campbell (King Richard).
L-R, Oliver Wellington (Robin), Ashley Campbell (King Richard). Photo credit Robert Day

Robin Hood is an absolute riot. It keeps the fun and traditions of the pantomimes we all know and love whilst managing to make it new and fresh. Cooke and Hymans brand new soundtrack gives the show a wonderful pace and whilst a few tunes cling firmly to the classic panto cheese we all know and love, there are a few songs I genuinely wouldn’t mind having on my iTunes.

Our adventure starts when we meet Robin’s three best friends – The Merry Men. These three all singing, all dancing, all popping and all rapping lads open the show for us and the audience are in the palm of their hands within the first two minutes. The leader of the team, Titch, is played with a wonderful charm and charisma by the talented Ashley Joseph who pretty much owns the first half of the show.

When the evil King John (Michael Bertenshaw) takes over the kingdom and announces he will marry his niece, the feisty Maid Marion (Nadia Albina), the only man who can save the day is Robin Hood (Oliver Wellington). Bow and arrow at the ready, we rocket through this adventure set in the fictional land of Strattyham where castles, drawbridges and dragons co-exist with flat peaks, break dancing and high tops.

The second half kicks off with our hero Robin behind bars with John’s brother and Marion’s father King Richard. One tap dancing number later and the adventure begins again. Meanwhile Marion’s Nurse (Derek Elroy) is trying everything she can to restore order in Strattyham. Elroy is an absolute joy to watch. The audience are in the palm of his hands from the moment he enters and has such a strong rapport with the audience throughout. He is quick witted with a wonderful voice and brings a fresh new take to the classic panto dame which makes it impossible to take your eyes off him.

Robin Hood has some genuinely wonderful, magical moments. One that particularly stands out is a little moment in the second half, where we meet a lonely little dragon who in a particularly inventive way flies our hero to safety. It’s a pantomime in a traditional sense but also manages to bring it straight to the 21st century. A wonderful multi-talented cast and some great original songs, Robin Hood will please both children and adults alike.

4 stars

Review by Hugh Roberts

Robin Hood, the prince of thieves is on a mission! Join him and his swashbuckling merry band of men as they get robbin’ the rich to feed the poor. Along the way they must undertake a quest to save good King Richard and the poor people of StratEastHam from the evil Prince John who is plotting to steal the crown. Will Robin and his motley crew save the day? Or will the feisty and fearless Maid Marion (and her devoted Nurse) get there first? And just what is the secret Marion is hiding? The perfect Christmas treat for children of all ages, this action-packed panto features a whole host of magical surprises and plenty of joining in… oh yes it does!

Robin Hood
Sat 5th December 2015 – Sat 23rd January 2016
http://www.stratfordeast.com/

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