Like Robin Hood’s arrow always hits the centre of the target this year’s Nottingham Theatre Royal panto production of Robin Hood is as sharp as an arrow head and swift as an arrow aimed directly at the hearts of its oh-so-keen Nottingham audience! Except that this proverbial arrow doesn’t hurt or kill – it strikes smack bang in the funny bone and is as entertaining as we could ever expect and much more.
X Factor Matt Terry pulls out all the stops as the eponymous hero Robin Hood and is well supported by the phenomenally acrobatic dance sensations ‘Flawless’ who rightly earn our enthusiastic applause throughout. Terry has charm a -plenty and a singing voice to match.
The audience tonight are in full panto mood as they boo and hiss Tristan Gemmell as the evil Sheriff Of Nottingham and Gemmill seems to revel in the attention as the bearded panto baddie fully kitted out in dark costume and lank dark hair. The commoners in the audience say “Boooo!”
Whether it is the time of Robin Hood or modern day there ain’t a panto in the land without a panto dame and without doubt septuagenarian Matthew Kelly is one of the best panto dames in the country, complete with the odd risqué remark. Oh yes he is! I mean just look at at his made-up little face, that ironic smile, the OTT blue eye shadow, colourful cheeks and self- awareness of how daft he looks on each and every costume change. And that’s before he even gets his frocks on and dressed up as Tilly Tuck, the dame. Kelly is certainly a great reason to part with your panto cash. He is so entertaining and always has the audience in the palm of his hand. He is a show biz legend in his own panto tights. Like Robin Hood himself except erm– different.
Similarly, this excited audience are keen to welcome back the talents of Jodie Prenger last seen at Nottingham Theatre Royal in her solo success Tell Me On A Sunday. She is perfectly cast as The Spirit of Sherwood and casts a warm glow all over the Nottingham Theatre Royal and its panto patrons tonight every time she graces the stage. Prenger has a special kind of charming and cheeky magic in reaching out to her audiences and us Nottingham folk love her to bits.
Taking the story to another very humorous level are comedian Phil Walker as Silly Simon with his affable “Hiya!” greetings and jokes and talented ventriloquist Kieran Powell as Alan- a- Dale. Both are greeted with great affection by the Nottingham Theatre Royal crowd. It is clear we are having a fantastic evening’s entertainment and this pair really add to the laughs throughout.
As a surprise guest (spoilt the surprise now, haven’t I?) Russian circus artist Denis Remnev does a seemingly impossible ‘turn’ and is a definite winner with this audience as Will Scarlett even though his act adds little to the plot to be honest. It’s a panto after all and most pantos are contrived vehicles for mass entertainment. In eighteen months Covid deprived of such entertainment who is complaining? Not us and that’s no spin.
But “Hang on a minute duck!” I hear you say. “Warrabout Maid Marian?” Fear not folks we have not forgotten our Maid Marian played by the lovely Lucy May Barker. Her Marian is a feisty gal and not to be messed with and this rapt audience is completely on her side and no doubt there will be a few adult punters out there hearts a fluttering. Just don’t tell Robin.
Crossroads Pantomimes certainly know how to put together an entertaining pantomime and whilst (typical of most pantomimes) there is admittedly little plot in Alan McHugh’s Robin Hood script the whole evening zips by and thrills like Robin Hood’s arrows unleashed to score frequent bullseyes. The sets are bright and colourful and thankfully very little needs to be a boring filler story or song whilst scenes are constantly changed. We love it! And we see a lot of pantos and Christmas shows! Whilst most of the songs are left to Matt Terry and Jodie Prenger both are vocally very strong and ensure we are right royally entertained. Is it the best panto yet to grace the Nottingham Theatre Royal stage? Well it could be. It has a wealth of theatrical riches and if you are poor of cash then this quality pantomime appearance of Robin Hood will make darned sure you are richly rewarded if you pay him at visit at Nottingham Theatre Royal.
Robin Hood runs until 9th Jan 2022.
Theatre Royal Nottingham
Saturday 11 December 2021 to Sunday 9 January 2022
For performance times, please visit venue website https://trch.co.uk/whats-on/robin-hood/
£14.50 – £41 plus discounts for Royal Members*, Under 26s Families, Groups and Schools
www.trch.co.uk Box Office 0115 989 5555
Sign Language Interpreted: 12/12/2021 13:30
Sign Language Interpreted: 16/12/2021 13:30
Audio Described: 19/12/2021 13:30
Relaxed Performance: 05/01/2022 18:00
Sign Language Interpreted: 07/01/2022 19:15
Captioned: 08/01/2022 14:30
Audio Described: 09/01/2022 13:30