by Trish Cooke and Robert Hyman music by Robert Hyman..
Theatre Royal Stratford East Gerry Raffles Square E15 1BN To 23 January 2016.
10am 5, 6, 11-13, 19, 20 Jan.
2pm 21-24, 26, 28-31 Dec, 2, 5-9, 11-16, 18-23 Jan.
7pm 21-24, 26, 28-31 Dec, 2, 7-9, 14-16, 21-23 Jan.
Runs 2hr 30min One interval.
TICKETS: 020 8534 0310.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 18 December.
Pulsating positivity with colour and cheer.
Forget Nottingham, for here we are in StratEastHam, as lively and inclusive a community of robbers and sheriffs as you might meet anywhere in the 12th – or 21st – century. For the famous Hoodies suddenly sound to have acquired street-names as Titch, Red, and Tuck.
They’re a lively gang and as their enemy-in-chief, regular East 15 baddie Michael Bertenshaw has the easy familiarity of one who knows that, yet again, he’s among enemies and can’t be bothered to raise the decibels to show his contempt for us plebs, seeing how effective quietly dismissive can be.
As his one true believer, and greasy-pole climber, Richard Sumitro’s Sheriff is an oily villain. But these two hardly have a chance, once the audience is enlisted as firmly on Robin’s side, being given the chance to turn the tables round (or, turn the round tables) by launching the squadron of paper airplanes they’ve been instructed to make out of Prince John’s invitation cards.
It’s highly coloured in a riotously medieval illuminated manuscript way, and Robert Hyman’s music includes some hard-rocking medieval motifs.
If there’s one thing Trish Cooke and Hyman’s panto script doesn’t need to find room for it’s a Dame. But that would be to deny this year’s audiences another regular favourite. So occasion’s found to introduce Derek Elroy’s imposing Nurse, if not always finding him space to do very much – though he has one glorious moment protesting from the side about the ridiculousness of cross-dressing.
Stratford East’s favourite warm-up song ‘She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain’ sets a lively, participatory mood and the only drawback is that a fine, snappy 2¼ hour show is drawn out to 2½ hours with material including pointless graphics about a giant worm and a tunnel.
The dragon incorporated is a fine, high-coloured model, and with Oliver Wellington’s brashly bold Robin more than matched by Nadia Albina’s strong-minded Marian – standing full-on to the audience, always clear and certain in what she says and showing a short arm’s no drawback when handling a longbow – Kerry Michael’s production has the usual E 15 energy and inclusive joy.
Marian: Nadia Albina.
Prince John: Michael Bertenshaw.
King Richard: Ashley Campbell.
Tuck: Alex Chang.
Herman: Rebecca Deren.
Red: Geraint Rhys Edwards.
Nurse: Derek Elroy.
Titch: Ashley Joseph.
Sheriff: Richard Sumitro.
Robin Hood: Oliver Wellington.
Ensemble: Karina Ginola, Ricardo da Silva.
Director: Kerry Michael.
Designers: Harriet Barsby, Jenny Tiramani.
Lighting: David Plater.
Sound: Andrew Johnson.
Musical Director: Robert Hyman.
Choreographer: Omar Okai.
Animations: Robin Fuller.
Special Effects: Scott Penrose.
Fight director: Ian McCracken.
Associate Director: Marcus Ellard.