The Arrow of Destiny
By Richard Hurford Music & Lyrics by Rob Castell.
3*** Fun and frolics in the greenwood
Theatre Peckham, 221 Havil Street, peckham, London SE5 7SD to 22 December 2018.
Performance times vary – 10.30am, 1.30pm, 7pm & 7.30 so check with box office.
Runs 2hr One interval
TICKETS: 020 7708 5401.
Review: William Russell 7 December
A funny politically correct panto
The pantomime test is what are the children in the audience doing? For this one they sat enraptured, nobody cried, nobody had to go to the loo and everyone joined in when the time came, as it always does in pantomime. The story line is a mite complicated and given the show ran at York Theatre Royal last summer maybe some tidying up should have been in order. But not matter Suzann Mcean’s production ambles along and the audience found it all very interesting and exciting.
In Sherwood Forest Maid Marion, who is a dab hand with the bow and arrows, is providing food for the starving population with a little help from Friar Tuck and keeping morale up by reminding them that Robin Hood may come to save them from the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham. In due course, to escape being forced to marry Guy of Gisborne, the Sheriff’s side kick, she sets off to find Robin disguised in red as a man and calling herself Will Scarlett. The problem is when she finds him Robin is not as the legend says, but a pleasant drink of water who could not hit a barn door at one pace with a bow and arrow and faints at the sight of snakes. There is nothing for a modern maid to do but do the job for him.
It all runs along nicely, there are some neat political points of a vaguely leftish persuasion scored, Little John turns out to be Robin’s mother in a false beard there to protect her boy, the Sheriff gets his comeuppance, Friar Tuck, hastily abandoning holy orders gets Little John, and Robin and Marion head for the history books with her still doing all the work. There is a splendid talking Tree, who advises her, and a fearsome snake called Wyrmwood who eats people, including Guy, and causes Robin to drop dead in a faint leaving it to Marion to do the needful. The Merry Men and the villagers are played by the students of Theatre Peckham and clearly enjoy getting this chance to emote on stage. There is a nice moment when one little boy comes out as gay and the audience applauded.
Malachi Green is a fine softy Robin, Ayanna Christie-Brown sings well and is full of spirit as Marion, and Gustavo Navarro makes Guy not too horrid a villain. This is just as well as he gets the community song to conduct, a ditty called May Day My Day, which seems somewhat topical and in which the audience joined with enthusiasm.
Raye New makes the Sheriff the least hissable villain in pantomime history and the romance between Little John, played by TerriAnn Oudjar, and the Friar played by Geoff Aymer, is a delight to watch. As for Wyrmwood and that Tree, they are truly magnificent creations.
Robin: Malachi Green.
Marion: Ayanna Christie- Brown.
Friar Tuck: Geoff Newe,
Guy: Gustavo Navarro.
Sheriff: Roy Newe.
Little John: TerriAnn Oudjar.
Oak King: Jo Servi.
Wyrmwood: Anne Marie Piazza.
Villagers and Merry Men the Theatre Peckham students.
Director: Suzann Mclean.
Designer: Lily Faith Mclean. Choreography: Tamar McKay-Patterson.
Fight Director: Jonathan Halby.
Lighting Designer: Jack Wills.
Photographs: Suzi Crocker