Writers: Sarah A Nixon & Mark Chatterton
Director: Mark Chatterton
As the festive pantomime season begins, there is always one in every city that is a little unique, one that puts its own stamp on the traditional proceedings, and in Liverpool that usually comes courtesy of Sarah A Nixon and Mark Chatterton’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll” panto at the Everyman Theatre.
This year, a new tale hits the Everyman Stage – as the writing duo take on the tale of Robin Hood, but do not be mistaken – this is not the Robin Hood you have become accustomed to before. This is arguably the craziest version of the story you are likely to see – to share the plot would be to take away some of the joy out of this year’s production for those who are yet to see it.
Dinah England’s vibrant set design makes a welcome return and brings a picture book sense to the onstage tomfoolery – which of course comes thick and fast thanks to the dynamic duo of Adam Keast and Matthew Quinn as Gilbert and Josie Jingles. Keast is a master of the roving eyebrow and brings the house into fits of laughter with his cheeky charm. Quinn is a delight as Josie, his dame, may have a rough around the edge feel to it, but it’s brilliant in its execution and the audience lap up his interaction (Behave!).
Also making a welcome return is Stephanie Hockley as Scarlett Jingles – the sharpshooting and singing daughter of Gilbert and Josie. On Press Night a stunning performance was delivered by James Wolstenholme, who due to the injury of Mike Slader took to the stage and delivered hilarious character after character (eight in total) without even so much as a hint that he was the productions acting cover. Jessica Dives joins the cast and gives a frightfully fun performance as the wicked Darthia De Foe and Peter Mooney lays on the Irish charm as the lovable Long John.
Jamie Noar who in past productions has tended to be the love interest returns this time in the joint role of the shows Musical Director and as Marlon the hip-swinging magician, and while it’s undeniable that the music is delivered with aplomb it is perhaps the choice of songs this year that tend to let the production down, with many school groups in attendance, one couldn’t help notice that their attention was lost during most musical numbers, some of which were unknown to this forty-something reviewer – so heaven knows how they would expect an audience of children to connect with some of them.
Robin Hood is a slick production and provides plenty to enjoy, but at over 2.5hours is perhaps a little too self-absorbed and could really do with a sub-plot or two removed to ensure the storyline is as clear as possible. A few changes to the song choices could also make all the difference to the production which on all other accounts is a sharp-shooting success.
Runs until 15 January 2021