Wednesday, March 22, 2023

A triumphant success for Thameside panto

By Lucy Chipperfield

Another year, another panto and certainly another triumphant success for the Thameside Theatre’s production of Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood. Without any hesitation, Robin Hood and his merry men are certainly the ones to watch this Christmas! For their brilliantly witty and enchanting panto will have you smiling from ear to ear thanks to their happy Christmas cheer.

Robin Hood scriptwriter, Debra James, has once again created another enchanting story for the whole family to enjoy. Whilst capturing the essence of a proper panto, Debra’s creation also intertwines a variety of popular culture references which certainly add a generous helping of comic genius to the stage – all I will say is Lady Gaga. Of course, what makes this excellent script dazzle so well is the incredibly talented performances from the panto cast.

Alex Marshall’s and Carling Connor’s brilliant performances as Robin Hood and Maid Marion warmed the hearts of the whole audience effortlessly. Their incredibly powerful singing duets and emotive performances certainly added a generous helping of romance to this panto and left the whole audience hoping for a ‘happy ever after’.

Sadly in Pantoland, when there is good there has to be evil, and Robin Hood’s arch enemy Sheriff of Nottingham, played by Tobey Nicholls, came to town. Tobey’s excellent performance as the evil Sheriff was brimming with evilness and truly captivated the audience perfectly. In addition, his relationship with his evil side-kick Plunkett, played by Matthew Meddings, not only doubled the terror for the audience but also provided some incredibly funny moments on stage.

And of course, not forgetting the brilliant and simply super performances from Nurse Glucose, played by Mark Siney, and Smiley O’Riley, played by Matthew Shannon. This comedy duo are by far the best comedy duo I have ever seen! Their energetic performances and infectiously happy personas were very entertaining and enjoyable to watch. There quick wit and outrageous sketches were amazing and certainly kept the audience bursting with laughter from beginning to end.

I would also like to acknowledge the excellent performance of The Forest Fairy, played by Kim Taylforth, and Friar Tuck, played by Rikki Chamberlain. Both of these characters were delightful to watch and complimented the panto family perfectly. Further congratulations has to go to the supporting cast members on stage whose incredibly talented dancing, singing and acting routines were exceptional!

Without a doubt, everyone should pop down to the Thameside Theatre this Christmas and see this perfect panto. There are plenty of magical surprises that will give the whole family lots of Christmas cheer this year. I can also promise that once you have seen it, you too will be ‘happy ever after’!


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