Friday, 15 December 2017

PANTOMIME REVIEW: Robin Hood at The New Victoria Theatre, Woking

There’s nothing like a pantomime to truly get you into the Christmas spirit. 

The timeless tale of Robin Hood and his merry men has stormed its way to Woking’s New Victoria Theatre for the holiday season. It’s safe to say Robin Hood is quite easily the most dynamic and exciting panto I have ever seen. Packed full of visual spectacle; acrobats, fight sequences, ACTUAL MAGIC, a 3D movie segment and even a DINOSAUR, Robin Hood is everything you could wish for in a panto. 

Shane Ritchie, of Eastenders fame (and beyond), leads this cast as Robin Hood. He is wonderfully funny and engaging with children and parents alike (especially the “yummy mummys” out there!) It simply wouldn’t be pantomime without a revamped version of The Twelve Days of Christmas and Ritchie shines effortlessly here. Who’d have thought the words “two juicy apples” could great quite so much hysteria!? To quote my thirteen year old brother - “He’s bloody hilarious”.

Ritchie’s right-hand man is Peter Piper as Friar Tuck and the two share a brilliant chemistry together which simply oozes fun and is impossible not to love. Ashleigh Gray as The Spirit of Sherwood, is massively underused in this show. She is sensational - my only criticism is that we didn’t see enough of her! 

As the mystical Merlin was Phil Hitchcock - a truly gifted magician who rendered me absolutely speechless. His tricks were expertly executed and left the entire audience in awe. I shan’t spoil any of his magic but trust me, it’s spectacular. 

What brings this panto into a league of its own is the fabulous modernising of a traditional show by adding in a journey through the forest via 3D movie projection. It took the classic interaction which pantomime is renowned for and brought it to the 21st century. I’ve not seen this done in any theatre before - I was seriously impressed. 

The technical aspects of this show ran without a hitch with special mentions to
the backstage crew for their remarkably artistry in controlling Rex, the dinosaur which allowed for one of the best Act 1 closers I’ve seen in any show, anywhere. 

Robin Hood is an absolutely first-rate pantomime. Fabulously inventive, creative and dynamic. I’d go again in a heartbeat and would take my entire family along next time, from my 98 year old great-granny to my 5 year old cousin. Get into the Christmas spirit and book your tickets ASAP! 

Fantastically funny, festive, flawless fun! 

Review by Harriet Langdown

Rating: ★★★★★
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